My niece, Amanda Reed is a non-stop girl. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, she and her family go, go, go!! Of course, they work and do all the other normal things, but on the weekends, they are so active that it would make most people exhausted, and I am a really active person, so for me to say that, is really saying something. I don’t like Winter, however, so most of my Winter activity is indoors. Amanda…well, she doesn’t mind the snow. She is out there hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, four-wheeling…you name it. Nothing slows this family down. The like to live life to the fullest. Its a great way to be.
Amanda works at a bank in Rawlins, Wyoming, as a BSA Agent. For any who don’t know, that is an agent who keeps records and files reports that are highly useful in criminal, tax, and regulatory matters. The documents she files under the BSA requirements are heavily used by law enforcement agencies, both domestic and international to identify, detect, and deter money laundering, whether it is in furtherance of a criminal enterprise, terrorism, tax evasion, or other unlawful activity. That is to say that she protects the bank, and the rest of us from thieves who would destroy our economy by the introduction of fake money with no value.
The two most important people in Amanda’s life, are her partner, Sean Mortenson and her daughter Jadyn Mortensen. Amanda is a horse girl’s mom, and is there to encourage Jadyn every step of the way. f course, it doesn’t take much encouragement, because Jadyn loves her horse, and riding is something she would rather do over just about anything in the world. Still, there are good days and bad days in any sport, and Amanda is one of Jadyn’s biggest cheerleaders. She also is a sports daughter, encouraging her mom, Deb Lucero in her hiking. They recently went on a winter snowshoe hike in the mountains, and had a great time. They have a lot more gumption than I do. The cold/snow part of that would be a big problem to me, but not for these girls or for Debbie Morgan-Fall, who went along.
When she is not working at her very serious job, Amanda, her family, and friends like to kick back, and be hilariously funny. In fact, they are among the funniest people I know of. These people have no problem with acting goofy, dressing funny, or funny comments. They love to laugh and make each other laugh, and that’s what it’s all about. This group of friends love to get together and have a great time. They go to the lake, the mountain, or just hang out at someone’s house. They love time together, and refuse social distancing…like most of us. Togetherness, yep that’s it. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I love looking at the pictures my family posts…especially the kids. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s true, but sometimes it’s the caption that really grabs me. Such was the case the other day when I looked at this picture posted by my cousin, Grace Oltman. The picture shows the smiling faces of her son, Hosea and her sister, Angel Pallas’ daughter, Hazel. These kids never cease to amaze me, because they are just being kids, after all. Grace captioned the picture with, “They will do anything for some candy.” That immediately took me back to the years when my grandchildren were little ones, and we tried so hard, sometimes in vain to get a good picture of the four of them.
As the grandma, it was my idea to do the four of them, and sometimes I think my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, thought I was crazy. In fact, sometimes I thought I was crazy. We tried everything to get them to all four smile at the same time…and I mean we tried everything, including candy, if they cooperated. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Now, looking at the pictures Grace took…which turned out amazing, by the way, I see what my problem was. She gave them the candy while they had the picture taken. What kid wouldn’t smile with a piece of chocolate in their hand? Oh, if I had only known. Of course, these little kids, Hazel, Hosea, Tenley, and Canaan, as well as cousins, Addilayde and Meadow, are definitely not strangers to the camera. Their parents take lots of pictures of them, and these kids know how to smile for the camera. I think that is why I enjoy looking at all their pictures so much. There is just nothing sweeter than looking at a smiling child…even if it is a candy smile, and even if the candy, cake, or whatever else they may enjoy having, is all over their face.
Every once in a while, however, even mom’s who take great pictures because the kids are so cooperative, will hit a bit of a snag. Such was the case when Grace took the picture of little Hosea and his little brother Canaan. Hosea was wearing his usual great smile, but Canaan needed a little help. Uh…Grace, I think you forgot the chocolate on this one, but then I guess Canaan was a teeny bit to small for that. Nevertheless, those sad face pictures can be just as cute as the ones that are all smiles. In the end, I had to promise to let my grandkids, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, do one goofy picture in order to get good smiles out of them. I guess that the moral of the story is…whatever works.
No matter how hard a worker someone is, there are simply times when you have to cut loose and horse around a bit. It breaks up the monotony of life. Does it look goofy to have a couple of grown men acting so silly…yes, but that still doesn’t mean that they won’t do it. The old saying, “all work and no play makes John a very dull boy” really does apply. Without a little humor in life, not only would we be dull, but life would be dull and boring. I like to think that most people choose to be happy, and maybe that is why they do goofy things. I know that isn’t the case for everybody, but most people seem to want to be happy and find things to smile about.
The men, from my mom’s side of the family, seemed to have a special knack for doing goofy things, like shaving someone’s face while they are laying on the ground looking like they are injured, or staging a fake robbery for the new camera. I have thought about them often, because they seemed be people with a great sense of humor. When you think about it, that is probably what made them such a great family. It never mattered if they had all kinds of money or things, because they always had love and laughter. Maybe that is what is wrong with so many families these days. They take everything so seriously, that they forget to laugh or play. I’d rather be from a family that teases each other unmercifully, than from one that never teases, but that’s just me.
Horsing around has changed over the years. Very few men would be riding each other like a horse these days, but that doesn’t say that they are above piggy back rides, or even wrestling. Of course, much of the horsing around these days is done on dirt bikes, bicycles, skateboards, motorcycles, or even snowmobiles. A little mud or a little snow, and you’re all set for a great time.
If you were to ask Garrett what he likes to do, you would probably find that his ideas of fun would fall squarely in the area of guy stuff. Garrett likes just about everything from golf, to hunting, to big trucks, and of course, Garrett loves sports of all kinds…and always has. Yes, I am aware that lots of girls like those things too, but to me they will always remain guy things…or maybe guy things that girls do too, sometimes.
Garrett also has a funny side. He loves to joke around, and especially to tease his sisters, Michelle and Lacey, and is sure to be the one goofing off at the exact moment that a picture is snapped. Anyone who knows Garrett has personally witnessed his goofy side, because it is simply not something Garrett can hide. It just bubbles out of him. One minute he might be serious, and the next he is busy making everyone laugh. When you think about it, that is a really great way to be.
These day’s Garrett is a grown up, with a job and all…not that a job changes the way he is. It’s not about whether or not Garrett is funny or whether or not he has a job though, in this case, its about what the job is. I thought about the fact that Garrett is a welder. That is what my dad was, and Garrett’s job reminds me that in many ways he is his grandpa’s grandson. Dad could be quite a cut up too. There are many things about Garrett that tend to remind me of my Dad. Mostly, I suppose it is a group of things. Mostly things that you can’t put your finger on separately, they just add up to a similarity, and that is an ok thing. I like the way many traits pass down from generation to generation and from ancestors to generations of the future. It somehow gives us a sense of belonging to someone…of belonging to a family, and really, that is what makes us who we are. Bloodlines, DNA, and simply imitation of those we love.
Today is Garrett’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that you aren’t a kid anymore…especially when you are being a cut up, but I am proud of the man you have become. I hope you have a wonderful day. Happy birthday Garrett!! We love you!!
In our family, turning 50 will get you one thing for sure…an Over The Hill party. Of course, that is our way of teasing that person about their age, especially those of us who have already been there. In fact, for us it is our way to get back at the ones who got us first. My sister, Allyn’s Over The Hill party was yesterday. We all had a great time. Allyn is the youngest of my 4 sisters, and so the last of our parents’ kids to hit this milestone. Now the grandchildren are starting to hit it too…and the next one of those hits it in 4 years. That’s kind of a bummer, because we like these parties. It’s always fun to pick on the poor new oldie, after all.
The gifts of choice, are always a big deal. Things like hugely over-sized playing cards, a cane (with a horn, magnifying glass, pill bottle, and dentures on a string), trophies, goofy hats, geezer glasses, and…well you get the idea. It’s all designed to make the newest oldie look as goofy as possible, and we are very good at making people look goofy, if I do say so myself.
All goofiness aside, what Over The Hill party would be complete without the trip down memory lane. Allyn’s family did a wonderful job putting together a 50th birthday collage of pictures from her past in the shape of 50, to commemorate the day. Everyone had a great time re-living the past. We couldn’t believe the changes in all of us. Allyn and Chris looked like babies when they got married, but then I guess we all did. Those old pictures sure give you a sense of who you are, and where you come from.
It’s all done in good fun, and Allyn was a great sport. I guess when it’s a family tradition, you get to where you expect this day to come, and almost look forward to it. Today is your day Allyn. You’re over the hill now, but as a card I saw said, now you have a great view!! Say goodbye to the 40’s, and hello to the 50’s. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The first time I met my niece, Toni’s future husband, Dave, I thought that he was pretty quiet…which surprised me because Toni is so outgoing. Like most first impressions, this one was wrong, because Dave is very outgoing and quite fun. On Christmas I got to see the goofy side of him, when for lack of a chair, he sat on his brother-in-law, Steve’s lap. I could tell, that neither of them were surprised by his antics, but I certainly was. I won’t be fooled into thinking that Dave doesn’t have an outgoing, and very humorous side again.
Since that first meeting, I have watched how Dave is and looked at the pictures they have taken, and while his goofy side is fun to watch, the thing about Dave that most impresses me is the loving side. It is so obvious to me that Dave loves Toni with his whole being, and that is high on my list of what a husband should be toward his wife. It is so easy to see how in love these two are. Toni is absolutely glowing these days, and as her aunt, I can say that I really like seeing that. I think these two will have a long happy life together.
Another thing that really impresses me about Dave is the way he worked to make a relationship between him and Toni’s son, James work. Blended families are sometimes difficult, and for a kid, it’s hard to accept that your mom is marrying someone that isn’t your dad, but Dave has found a way to win James over. He won’t ever try to replace James dad, but they have a better relationship than so many steps do, because Dave took the time to let James ease into a friendship with him. He included him and even found things that they could do together…guy things, that are important to a kid. I think that has endeared Dave to many in the family.
I think Dave is a really good fit in this family, and will be great to be around. We are a family of teasers, and Dave is that way too, and yet that isn’t all he is about. He steps up and pitches in whenever he is needed, even offering his help with things like raking the leaves up when the rest of us just couldn’t get around to it. Basically, Dave is one of the family. Today is Dave’s birthday…the first since his marriage to Toni. And it’s Super Bowl Sunday too, so that should help make it a good day!! Happy birthday Dave!! We love you!! Have a super birthday!!
My niece, Toni has always been a woman of quiet grace. I don’t know any other way to express that really. She is beautiful and yet, she doesn’t think so. Her beautiful face almost always wears a soft smile. She never pushes herself on people, but her sweet spirit seems to draw them to her anyway. I never think of Toni that I don’t think of her looking just like this picture of her, because that is so often exactly how she looks. Sweet and content with life.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, Toni has a funny side too. She can goof of with the best of them, and when she does, she is very funny. Through the years I can remember so many funny times with her. Of course, some of them she might not consider very funny, but then that is normal for any of us. I remember a time when she was about two years old, and I had gone up to visit her family in upstate New York. Her mom, my sister, Cheryl had made milk shakes for dinner, and as they sat on the table between drinks, the top froze a little bit. We didn’t have straws, and poor little two year old Toni was about to find out just how big a problem that can be. She lifted her glass to take a drink, and when the shake didn’t move down the glass to her lips, she lifted it straight upside down…well, you get the picture. Miss Toni Had a face full of chocolate shake, and it was cold!! She took it like a little trooper, but I will never forget the shock it produced in the rest of us. I felt so bad for her. We all have our moments, for sure, and all you can do is shrug it off and move forward…which is what Toni did. Before you knew it, she was laughing and playing again, like nothing ever happened. Toni has always liked being a bit on the goofy side, and most of her antics bring a big laugh, and she is such a good sport about it. You just never know what she might do next.
All kidding aside though, Toni is never happier than when she is with the two men in her life. They are the most important…always. When she is with Dave and James, her face shows the way her spirit feels…peace. Life is good and all is well. Toni recently married Dave, who is the love of her life, and I felt so much joy and happiness for her…for them. They are so good together, and I love how blessed she is. God has been so good to her. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! We love you very much!!
Every grandchild is special, but you will always remember when your first one arrived. It is a day you most parents have waited for since their kids reached marrying age. I don’t mean that you wanted grandkids since your kids became teenagers, but as they grew, your mind…maybe deep down, maybe consciously, wondered what their children would be like. We were no different. As my girls grew up, I wondered what my grandchildren would be like. No matter how hard I tried, my thoughts of who they might be, came up very short of the great kids they are, or the fact that after having two daughters, I would end up with only one granddaughter, and 3 grandsons.
Every one of my grandchildren is very special and very unique. Christopher, from the beginning, had the best smiley faces. His eyes were so expressive. You couldn’t help but laugh with him. He loved doing goofy things, like dumping all the clean clothes out of the basket they were in, so he could get into the basket himself. Then, he waited to see what you were going to think of it. His great big eyes were always so expressive, and in them you could totally see the delight that he was feeling. And he seemed to be able to play to your sense of humor, because he never seemed to fail to do things that were just funny.
People call people like that a ham or a clown, and maybe he was, but all I can say is that it was just Christopher’s way. Also, I don’t know if he even realized what he was doing, at least at first. After a while, I’m sure he did, and he seemed to hone his skills as he went along. I remember the first time I saw him talking and shaking his head side to side, when he was about 3, and that is something many adults can’t do, but again, on Christopher it just came naturally. And I have laughed at that one over and over, because I can still see it in my memory. He was so funny as a little kid, and still is today. It was his unique talent.
My nephew, Garrett is a man who loves his family. No, he is not married, but he loves his parents, sisters, and in a very special way, his young cousins. Garrett will make a great dad some day, because he loves children. They just click. He doesn’t mind playing their games, and they love being around this grown up who has a little bit of kid in him too. He rough houses with them and chases them around. All the things that little kids like to do. Maybe Garrett forgot to grow up or something.
Garrett is a family kind of a guy, but with a bit of a wild side…or should I say a crazy side. Garrett is a man who is really all kid. He likes to joke around with everyone. And his sisters are two of his prime targets. If he isn’t attacking them, he is hugging them. And since he would never hurt them, either prospect isn’t a bad deal. It’s just that you never know quite what to expect from a brother like that. And if I were those girls, I wouldn’t turn my back on him too often.
Nevertheless, Garrett is a great guy. He is helpful to those who need his help, and kind to those needing kindness. He is a friend to everyone he meets, and is loved by all who know him. He is a guy that doesn’t mind helping he grandmother. And we all know that a lot of kids are too busy for things like that, but not Garrett. He comes to help at her house when she asks him to, and helps her get into church on Sundays. He is just like that.
I know that whatever Garrett decides to do with his life, he will succeed at it, because he has the perfect mix of ingredients…love, kindness, playfulness, craziness, wildness, goofiness…all tings that make him the great guy that he is. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! We love you.
Some people just seem…destined, maybe…to always be around little boys. It seems to start at a very young age too. My daughter Amy, was like that, as is her daughter, Shai. Both of them started babysitting little boys at an early age, and boys just seemed to be their destiny, so to speak. It’s not that they didn’t like little girls or babysit little girls, but it just so happened that it was mostly little boys. Like they attracted them or something.
Even as a little girl, Shai seemed to love to hold the little boys. And as she grew and began babysitting, it was the boys she understood best. She would play their games, and take their pictures. Her phone was filled with goofy pictures of Jenny and Steve’s boys, Xander, Zack, and Isaac. Of course, there are a lot of hugging pictures too, as the boys really love Shai a bunch. They can always be seen hanging around her…even if she isn’t babysitting. They are like her own boys, in a way…of course, not to replace their own great parents, but just a very special bond. And the bond Shai and Jenny share is very special too. Of course, Shai and Steve have a bond too…he picks on her, and she picks right back. I don’t think any of them would have it any other way.
And when Shai is babysitting, the boys know they can be themselves, because she is very understanding. She might even take a picture of them “being themselves” as you can see. I just hope the two of them don’t kill each other, because the babysitter seems preoccupied in picture taking. No…this is just an example of the boys hamming it up because Shai is taking pictures. They are about the goofiest little boys, and they love to ham it up for the camera. In reality, they loved doing just about anything Shai could think of, because she instinctively knew what fun stuff boys would like.
Of course, like any babysitting job there are the little boo boo’s and the real fights, but Shai and her boys just took it all in stride and got on with the important stuff…having fun. And they did. In fact, I can only think of one time Shai babysat them that wasn’t so much fun. She was babysitting during a Tornado Watch, and had to take the boys to the basement. While it was a scary situation, Shai handled it well, and even though the boys were scared, they did ok because Shai was there to talk them through it. It was almost as good as having their parents at home…almost, but not quite.