My grand niece, Jala Satterwhite is growing up so fast. I still picture her as a girl who is her sister, Kaytlyn’s age, but that just isn’t so. This past year, when Jala was in 5th grade, she participated in the science fair, and did a great job. She did her project on salt, which is something I personally like a lot of. Jala has always liked grade school and has done very well in it, but the time has come for her to move on. With her twelfth birthday, comes middle school. She will no longer be one of the big kids on campus, but she will be moving into the world of the older group of kids in school.
We will have to see exactly what that will mean for Jala, because at this point, she is quite proud to call herself a tomboy. Her favorite game is football, and I don’t mean to watch. This last year found Jala playing football with…and besting the boys…at every recess. She is one of the fastest of them all. She likes football so much, that she told everyone that she wanted a football for her birthday, and ended up with three at her party. I guess she is set in that department. With the coming of middle school, comes also co-ed flag football…with Jala on the team. She is so excited about playing on a real team…and not just recess fun. She starts in a couple of weeks, and she can’t wait. Hey, I say go for whatever your heart desires Jala. Those kids need you on their team! They want to win…right!!
The summer found Jala taking swimming lessons…an excellent idea. I think every child needs to know how to swim. Jala excelled at swimming too, passing the hardest level a week faster than was required. She is a great swimmer, but swimming simply cannot compete with football…at least not right now. You never know what the future might bring. She may end up on the swim team someday. As kids grow up, their focus often changes and new ideas present themselves, and before your very eyes, they are a changed person. It’s hard to say what Jala will want to do in the future, because she has so much changing left to do.
Jala has grown in maturity in so many ways. She wanted an iPhone this past year, and while her parents wanted her to have it, they also wanted to teach her about things like responsibility, and making your own way in this world. Of course, Jala isn’t old enough to totally make her own way in this world, but she can learn about earning something she wants, so she will be sure to take care of it when she gets it. That said, her parents decided that if she wanted an iPhone, she should save up for it. A very wise idea. Once you know how expensive it is, and how long it took you to save up for it, you tend to have a greater respect for it…and Jala does. She also loves her iPhone, and did from the moment she got it. I can’t blame her there. The iPhone is the best phone there is, if you ask me. It’s also a great phone for taking all the selfies that Jala likes to take, but then why should she be different than anyone else. Today is Jala’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Lindsay met her husband, Shannon Moore while he was coaching the Wyoming Calvary Indoor Football team. It’s amazing where that one moment has taken their lives. If she had to pick one thing about Shannon that stole her heart, it would have to be that he has the kindest heart of anyone she has ever met. Lindsay is a loving, kindhearted person too, and I think she just couldn’t imagine settling for a husband who wasn’t like that. I’m sure that is exactly why Shannon stood out to her, like her knight in shining armor or her prince charming. I think they both knew a long time ago that they would be together always. Shannon made her feel special, comfortable, and included in everything he was doing.
Shannon is a sports guy. His favorite sport is football, but he loves all sports. He played football at Black Hills State University during his college days, but he really never got football out of his system. After the Cavs, his coaching career moved him to South Dakota State University. It was difficult for Shannon and Lindsay, but after she graduated from the University of Wyoming, Lindsay did her graduate work and subsequently went to work at South Dakota State University. Almost immediately after their engagement, they were planning their wedding to take place in Florida on Deerfield Beach, when Shannon was offered his current position as Special Teams Coordinator at Florida International University. Shannon was living his dream. His life was getting better by the minute. Shannon loves sports, and he is blessed enough to have that be his life’s work too.
For Lindsay, I think possibly his contagious laugh was one of the things that made him a keeper. She calls his laugh big, loud, and from the heart. He is always saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” That is one of the things my parents used to say. Lindsay says that always makes her smile or giggle…even if she doesn’t want to. When I mentioned that it would be a good way to end an argument, she told me they don’t really argue, but that it could make her feel better after a bad day…and isn’t that what it’s all about.
Shannon loves kids and really enjoys playing with them. He’s a great entertainer for them, which is a big pro as far as Lindsay’s niece, Rory is concerned. She loves her uncles, and getting a new one was just another plus in her book. His playfulness is such a big part of who he is. Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Liz has always been a sports fan…and a bit of a tomboy. The only pictures we really have of her in a dress were when she was very little. She always had strong ideas about what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go. Oh, she hadn’t chosen her career path when she was little, but at that time she had strong ideas about what sports she liked and what teams she liked. Sports was always something she shared with her grandpa, my dad, Allen Spencer. They were both Broncos fans, for football, and Yankees fans, for baseball. That love of those teams, and their love of talking about sports never changed. They could talk about it for hours. It was a special bond that was cherished by both of them.
As Liz grew, she started thinking about what career she wanted to pursue, and after considering several things, she settled on teaching. It was the perfect choice, because Liz really is a gifted teacher. It isn’t every teacher, who can have a friendship with her students, that lasts well beyond graduation. They know that she is a friend they can trust and respect. She works with many of her students closely, because she is the journalism teacher. She and her students publish the school newspaper, the Kelly Kall, and she also heads up the annual staff. She is also the photographer for the paper and the annual. With all that, Liz gets to know many of the students and the school organizations. It makes her one of the well known teachers too.
One thing that doesn’t make her stand out as a teacher, however, is her height. Very few teachers, or people for that matter are as short as Liz. Unfortunately for Liz, she comes from a family of short people, so there wasn’t much chance that she would become a tall person. When she began her teaching career, most of her students thought she was a new student. I’m sure that is something she will deal with for a while, because she can still pass for a student. I have looked at some of the pictures of Liz with special students, and she is always the shorter one, but in last year’s graduation, Liz was finally able to see eye to eye with one of her students. Seriously…how cool is that? Maybe she will look like the teacher someday after all. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Boys go through stages of being tough and being sentimental. A boy who plays the tough guy one minute, might turn right around and bring his mom flowers. My nephew, Riley us one of those kids who is tough as nails in many areas of his life. He has practiced the martial arts, played football, and broken at least one bone every year from age three to age twelve. Riley has had a fractured elbow, two fractured wrists, broken thumb, a concussion, both knee patellae highly extended, fractured forearm, two sprained ankles and now a broken coracoids. You would think he would almost be afraid to move for fear of another break, but Riley is proud of every injury he has had. I suppose it all goes back to that country song about “chicks digging scars” that makes it so cool, but it sure doesn’t do anything for his mom’s sanity.
Nevertheless, as tough as Riley is, when it comes to his little brother, Tucker, he has a very big, soft heart. Tucker is his little brother after all, and as such Riley has placed upon himself, the responsibility of being Tucker’s protector. It doesn’t matter if a protector is really needed all the time or not, as far as Riley is concerned, Tucker is his little brother and he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep him safe and to let him know that his big brother loves him very much.
Riley is in junior high…or middle school, as it is called these days, and as happens with all young boys, he is changing in many ways, with girls being the most noticeable. This year, as a 7th grader, he has now decided that it is very necessary to buy a young lady at school a rose. And with that, the world has changed for him and his parents. In fact, things will never be the same, but then that is pretty much normal for boys his age. Riley will continue to change in the years to come. Driving, dating, and before long marriage will all find their way into his life. This is just the beginning. Today is Riley’s 13th birthday. He’s a teenager now, folks…look out!! Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Eighteen years ago today, my youngest daughter, Amy married her best friend, Travis. It’s strange to think that your children have been married for many years now. It forces you to realize that they aren’t kids anymore. Oh, you know it…really, but the very fact that they could have been married for eighteen years or more…well, time just goes by so fast. Still, time has gone by, and they are so suited to each other. They have the same interests, likes, and dislikes. They think a lot alike. And as the years go by, I see that more and more. People do that. They become more and more like the person they love and spend their life with.
Amy and Travis love to ride their motorcycle and take trips to Deadwood with friends. They are also into Blues music, and they like to go to the Wyoming Blues and Jazz Society sessions. They even names their second dog…you guessed it, Blues. Their lives have centered around music and jokes, both of which Travis is very good at. His quick wit brings laughter to most gatherings they are at. They love to get together with family and friends, especially if they can barbeque. They have also started making wine, but unfortunately, they will not be able to have some of their own wine on their anniversary.
With all that they have in common and that they agree on, you would think that all would be bliss, but there is one thing that they simply do not agree on…football. Oh, they both love football, but they each root for arch rival teams. Amy goes for the Packers and Travis goes for the Bears. It is a constant battle in their house during football season…no, not a real battle, but a football battle for sure, with each one cutting down the other’s team. These football battles don’t interfere with their relationship, much like Bob attending Natrona County High School and me going to the rival Kelly Walsh High School. You just have to take the teasing in stride…especially when your team loses.
Their marriage has been blessed with two wonderful children, Shai and Caalab, who are also a great blessing to me and their grandpa. The years have flown by so fast. It seems like only yesterday that they were getting married. I remember the ceremony clearly, even though it was eighteen years ago. Today is Amy and Travis’ eighteenth anniversary…eighteen years and counting. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!
As we start football season, I recalled a picture that I had seen among my mom’s old family pictures. It was a football practice session most likely at a local school. That reminded me of something I had read a while back about the changes in football gear over the years. As we all know, football can be a dangerous game. Sometimes, the players are hurt slightly and sometimes, quite badly. Unfortunately, it was those injuries that have founded the need for better protection, and therefore, better gear. When American football appeared on college campuses in the 1870’s little was known about the brain damage that could occur from some of the impacts that are a natural part of the game.
In those early years, head protection was rarely worn. As far back as the 1900’s, they had the “head harness” which was a soft leather version of today’s helmet, but it was mainly to protect the ears. I suppose it did, but it also made it difficult to hear, so not many players wore them. Newer versions of the helmet appeared as the years went by, featuring holes for the ears, so they could hear the plays and movement around them. They were made out of plastic, and featured a suspension system to keep the helmet from sitting directly on the player’s head. This also provided a little bit of cushion for their head. Of course, we now know that those older versions did not provide enough protection from concussion, and the newer versions probably don’t do enough either, but they are much better than their predecessors.
In the early years, players were subjected to ridicule for putting padding in all the necessary areas that we now know need protection. It was treated as…well, wimpy back then. Now plastic is a part of shoulder pads and pants. It isn’t a perfect solution, but the key here is to keep the players in the game, if possible, because we all know that one of the best things about fall is football…to some people anyway.
My nephew, Steve, who is the husband of my niece Jenny, is a man who is all about family. He takes an active interest in his children, and everything they are in to and up to. Oh, I know there are lots of dads who are good dads and very hands on with their kids, but that fact doesn’t make any one of them less special. Steve loves showing his boys the ropes of being a man. They are learning to use a gun…and use it safely. Steve loves most types of outdoor sports, and so taking his boys snowmobiling, fishing, as well as football, and any other sport that the boys are interested in, is what Steve is all about.
Still, as good as Steve is with little boys, he also has a very natural touch with his little girl. Aleesia was born one year ago, and just a few days before her daddy’s birthday, and she was an answer to prayer. Jenny and Steve wanted a daughter to complete their family, and they had waited a long time. Aleesia was everything they could have asked for. Now Steve finds himself in a different kind of role. Yes, he is still daddy, but girls are very different.
Steve and Jenny have stepped into their role as parents of a daughter with the same love and skill that they used with their sons, except that the role has changed from masculine to feminine. Aleesia is very feminine…she is all girl, and she loves her daddy very much. She is a lot like her daddy in personality and when you put the two of them together, they have a tendency to make the exact same faces. Steve is quick to smile, and Aleesia is very much the same. When she is with her daddy, she feels like she is on top of the world…and I’m sure that is exactly where she is.
Steve is a great dad and also a great husband. He is a good Christian man who is teaching his family the way they should go, and he will be greatly rewarded for that. He has been such a wonderful addition to our family. Today is Steve’s birthday!! Happy birthday Steve!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Xander is the oldest of the five children of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. He takes his job as the first born very seriously. Like any kid, he has his fights with his two brothers, but that has nothing to do with his duties as the big brother. They are his little brothers and his little sister, and they are his top priority. Xander is wise beyond his years and knows the value of life…possibly because he has already experienced loss in his young life, having lost his sister, Laila when she was 18 days old and he was seven years old. It was an event that made his tender heart break. Now, like his brothers, he brings little gifts to the sister he won’t get to know on this Earth, because his big brother’s heart feels so much love for her.
As the oldest child, Xander tries to always be a good role model for his younger siblings. That means studying hard and getting good grades, so he can encourage them to do the same. It also means that he works hard at whatever job he is doing, because he knows that it is the right thing to do…to always do your very best work. So that’s what he does whenever he is asked to help out around the house…he works hard at it and does the job right. And it means that Xander stays out of trouble, because how can a big brother be a good role model for his younger siblings, if he is getting in trouble all the time. He is the kind of boy who makes his parents proud, and makes his brothers want to be just like him. He is a good and loving boy.
In his leisure time, Xander participates is sports…of all kinds. He likes to play football and basketball. He also studies Tae kwon do. He likes to ride motorcycles and snowmobiles. He’s tried lots of sports, but football is his very favorite. Like his dad, he also loves guns, and loves to go out the range to do some shooting. Of course, any guy who likes gun, likes to hunt, and Xander is no exception. After passing his Hunter Safety Course in mid-March, I’m sure that he is very excited to go hunting with his dad this fall. All in all, Xander is just an all around boy. Today is Xander’s birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! We love you very much!! Have a great 10th birthday!!
I always thought I knew so much about Bob’s grandmother on his Dad’s side. We didn’t get to see her as much as we would have liked, but when we did, I was sure I could see in her home, all the things she liked and disliked. Looking around her home you would find the piano and the sewing machine in the living room, along with a small television that was never turned on. Grandma was always working on something. Over the years she made many quilts and afghans, and of course, she sewed many clothing items. Her living room also housed a collection of photo albums, that hold the treasures of her life…her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Her kitchen was a flurry of activity almost from morning until night. The radio was the main, and usually the only form of entertainment and it was usually on the station with the farm and ranch report. It seemed like Grandma was always cooking. Living on a ranch meant that she was up with the sun. Grandpa had to have breakfast early so he could milk the cows and feed the livestock. Lunch was always the biggest meal of the day. After breakfast, Grandpa worked up a big appetite taking care of the animals, and nothing would take care of it like a big home cooked meal.
Grandpa liked to play cards whenever we were there, and we always needed a fourth player, so Grandma was pulled from her duties so we could play. I could always tell that she didn’t feel like she should be sitting down wasting time playing cards, when there was so much work to be done. Nevertheless, she played, because she wanted our visit to be fun for us. She was quick to abdicate her chair, if anyone else was willing to sit in it, however. She finally got a break from cards, when we went to town to visit the rest of the family in Forsyth, or when Grandpa needed to take a nap, which he did every afternoon. But that never meant that she would sit and idly watch television. No, Grandma took that time to bake, clean, quilt, or some other productive activity.
Grandma just never liked having idle hands, which is why I was so surprised to find out that Grandma was a San Francisco 49er’s fan. Football seemed so far outside of her nature that it was something akin to having an elephant sitting in the chair next to you. Now more and more women are getting into sports of all kinds, and watching football on television is a big part of that. I am a Denver Broncos fan, myself. But for Grandma, that just seemed so foreign. And then to top it off, I found out that she also loved baseball. Now, more women liked baseball in times past, but it still seemed foreign to Grandma…at least the Grandma I thought I knew. And, I’m not alone in that thought, because my family didn’t know it either. I have to wonder what other little things there are about Grandma that we never knew.
My brother-in-law, Mike is a fraternal twin, something that was new to our family. He is one of six children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Their family was lively, as any family with 6 kids would be. There was always something going on, and I’ll bet that with 3 boys and 3 girls, there was a lot of picking on the sisters going on too. Having not had brothers myself, I wouldn’t know how that is, but I have heard all the typical horror stories told by friends who had brothers, and of course, by my own granddaughter, Shai, who is quite thankful that she only had one brother.
I think that being part of a big family teaches teamwork, and Mike seems to have learned that lesson very well. Whenever there is a big project to do around my mom’s house, we can always count on Mike to pitch in and help out. He is quick to help with painting, yard work, deck building, and any other project. With continued maintenance needed at Mom’s house, these projects are ongoing, and they mean that the guys is the family might have to give up a weekend of fishing or camping to do them. Still they never complain, and for that we are grateful.
Mike is a patient man, which is an important trait, in any area of ones life, but Mike also has a great sense of humor, and an infectious laugh. When something strikes him as funny, it seems like his whole being gets into it. That kind of laugh makes everyone want to get in on the joke. I would think that his sense of humor would make their house a great place to live and grow up. And as in most households, sometimes a sense of humor is a matter of survival. With three kids, I’m sure he and my sister, Alena had those moments when the only thing that got you through it was that sense of humor.
Mike is very much a sportsman. He enjoys all of the outdoor sports like hunting, fishing, and camping. He is an avid football, basketball, and baseball fan too. He has played on local baseball teams in the summer. He likes to go to the shooting range for target practice, and at some point this summer, Bob and I plan to go along and give that a try. Now if that is anything like the way I play golf…well, let’s just say that it’s a good thing that people don’t stand beyond a certain line, because I could be dangerous. Maybe Mike can give me some pointers, because I certainly need them. Mike likes bowling too, and has bowled on local leagues. If it has to do with sports, chances are Mike is interested.
Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Our family has been very blessed to have you in it. You are a great brother-in-law. Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!