grand nephew

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

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

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

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

My grand-nephew, Matt Masterson has grown from being a multi-faceted little boy, who loved to pick on his sisters, Raelynn and Anna, but would also fiercely defend them, if anyone else picked on them. He loves his family and is very loyal to them. When his parents are working and the children are home alone, he is their protector, whether protection is needed or not. It just a part of the man in him. Raelynn is the older child, still at home. She is 16, while their half-sister, Christina is 23, and living on her own in Colorado, and younger sister, Anna is 12. In reality, they probably don’t need his protection, but they are grateful for Matt’s protective ways. He is also very protective of his mom, and takes on the “man of the house” role whenever his dad has to be out of town, or at work.

Matt is going into 8th grade this year, meaning he is in the last year of middle school. High school awaits him in just one year, but already I can see the high school student coming out in him already. It always seems to me that the last year of school levels, like elementary, middle, and high school, have the student oddly out of place among the younger students, but they would be out of place in the upper level too, I suppose. It’s all just a part of the transition from child to young adult, but I think Matt will make the transition with his usual ease.

Matt is an easy going sort of a guy, and there isn’t too much that bothers him. He like online gaming, like most kids his age. He likes hanging out with his cousins, and is good friends with his cousin Zack Spethman. Matt and Zack have been friends for their entire lives. The only thing that has changed is their size. Like most kids, they are not looking forward to summer’s end, even if school isn’t a bad thing. The boys like walking places like Cold Stone for get an ice cream treat. I can’t say as I blame them. That’s what summer’s all about, hot days and cold treats. Nevertheless, all too soon, summer will give way to Matt’s last year of middle school. I know it’s going to be a great year. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Keifer Balcerzak has had a very busy year. The biggest change for him turned out to be a pretty small change…his baby daughter, Reece. Now of course, that was a big change, that came two months early in a very small package. In fact, Reece weighed in at just 3 pounds 11 ounces, and she was 17¾ inches long. That is a very small package indeed, but Reece has had a very big impact on her parents and her family. Her parents, Keifer and his wife Katie are now first time parents, and although there have been some moments when they couldn’t help but worry…whether their worries were unfounded or not…they are working their way through it. Having a baby that is two months premature is no easy task, and for those of us who have not been in that situation, it might be difficult to understand. The parents worry about letting the baby sleep, and they worry about not letting the baby sleep. They worry about germs and they worry about being viewed as overprotective. I think most new parents have multiple concerns to deal with when they have their first baby, but having a two month premature baby is really a very different thing. I think they have handled things quite well, and now that Reece is eight months old, they are feeling a little bit more relaxed about things. Reece is a happy, healthy, smiley baby, and I’m sure that helps calm their nerves too.

Recently, Keifer and Katie decided that they needed a bigger house for their growing family, so they started looking and then sold their old house and bought a new one. Now they are busy settling in to their beautiful new home, and we are all very excited for them. So I guess in this instance, the change was much bigger than the first change, but not in how big an impact it was on their lives. After all, none of the events of this past year will ever be as big as having their precious little Reece was. There is simply no topping that.

Buying and selling a house can be a busy and emotionally challenging time, but add to that working every day, and playing softball, and you have a pretty busy summer on your hands. That is where Keifer found himself this year, and things probably wont slow down for a while now. Settling into a house is no easy task, and just getting the closings done can be taxing, but Keifer and Katie are working through the tough stuff, and just enjoying life with their precious little girl. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Matthew Masterson is growing up so fast. According to his mom, Dustie Masterson, Matthew is a real man boy these days. He is very protective of his mom and his sisters. When his dad, my nephew, Rob Masterson had to go to South Carolina for training for work, it ended u being at the same time that Matthew was supposed to be staying in Fort Laramie, Wyoming with a friend of his. As Matthew thought about his mom and sisters at home without a man in the house, he just couldn’t stand it. And his mom secretly felt the same way. Matt called his mom and asked her to drive to Fort Laramie and pick him up. The visit with his friend would have to be another time. So right after she dropped Rob at the airport, she made the drive back up to pick him up. Matt stuck to his mom and sisters like glue, even going outside with his mom when she went out to smoke. When his dad is not home, Matt considers himself the family protector. He is learning to shoot and to be safe with guns, so he can keep his family safe.

Matt is turning 13, and going into 7th grade this year. It’s hard to believe he is getting so grown up. Matt is totally into online gaming with his friends from school. He really likes Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Siege 6 and Fortnight. Now, if only he can remember not to “team kill” and get banned for another week. I guess it’s easy to get carried away sometimes. Nevertheless, I’m sure that it won’t take him too long to become a master at both games. Gaming if great, but Matt likes to cook too, and when given the choice between cooking with his mom and gaming…well cooking is the only thing that Matt will immediately flip off the Xbox for.

Matt’s family recently moved into a new home, and now he has his own room, which he really loves. One surprising thing came about with having his own room. Suddenly Matt is meticulous about keeping his room clean. Now that, for most boys is a amazing thing, of course, it all gets back to normal for boys when you hear that along with having his room clean, he also works very hard to keep it girl free!! I guess it’s one thing to be protective of his sisters, but totally another to share his space with them. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Like many kids his age, my grand-nephew, Topher Spicer is a gamer. Video games are high on his priority lit, like they are for just about any kid. And, these kids are so good at them. While I am a techie, I do not play the games, so I’m sure that Topher would whoop on me real bad, if I tried to compete with his abilities. When a child applies himself to something, he gets good at it, and that is what Topher has done. Gaming is not the only activity Topher likes to do, however. He loves to run around and play with his friend, Marcus. With them, roughhousing is the order of the day. Topher is also a part of a group of friends that he enjoys hanging out with. They do a variety of activities together, and really get along.

In middle school last year, Topher decided to take up swimming, and he found that he really enjoys it. He plans to participate in swimming again in the coming school year. He did very well with it. With continued practice, I know that he could become a competitive swimmer in high school, and maybe even letter in it. Topher likes school, and that is a really good thing. If a kid likes school, they will go far in whatever they choose to do.

Topher and his mom, my niece, Andrea Spicer is not just his mom, she is his best friend. Topher has very strong protective instincts, and like any child should, he wants to stand up for and protect his mom. He loves his mom, very much, but there are some things a guy can’t talk to his mom about. For those things, Topher turns to family friend, Nikki Vigil. He trusts her with the things that he needs some advise on, and that makes his mom happy, since he is too shy to talk to her about these things. Nevertheless, there are a number of things that he and his mom like to do together…such as watching the cooking competition shows…especially the on with Gordon Ramsey. Topher’s mom loves to cook, and is a chef by trade, so it stands to reason that they would like to watch cooking shows, but then I do too, so I totally get it.

It’s hard for me to believe that Topher is getting so grown up. Every time I see him, he is more and more grown up. He has grown into a fine young man, and he makes his family very proud. Today is Topher’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Jake Collett joined our family when he married my grand niece, Katy Balcerzak. Jake and Katy are perfect for each other. When they aren’t at work, they are together. It doesn’t matter what it is…errands, visiting family or friends, or just hanging out. They are a team, and that is the best thing to be in a marriage. People who really love each other always seem to be going the in the same direction. Their goals and activities all seem to be along the same lines. That’s Jake and Katy. Just looking at their faces, when they are together, you can see the love they have for each other. It’s just so awesome to watch.

Jake and Katy love all things outdoors. It doesn’t matter if its the mountain or the lake. They are there. They love going for long walks on the mountain, and taking their dogs with them. Hiking is such a beautiful sport, and anyone who does it, knows the peace and serenity of the outdoors. You can’t spend much time out there, and not be hooked for life. Exploring through the trees, finding out what is just around the bend in the trail…that’s what it’s all about. Jake and Katy get that. The mountains and trails are the perfect place to unplug from life and reconnect with your spouse. And that’s what they do…often.

Jake and Katy also love to ride four wheelers. That way they can get even further from the hustle and bustle of their busy lives. There is nothing like heading out into the trees far from the highway and the crowds. These days so many people don’t take time to get back to nature, and I think that is sad. Jake and Katy take lots of pictures of their adventures, and their puppies, Bubba and Sheiba. I like that they post their pictures so everyone else can share in their peaceful times together. I know that they are going to have such a wonderful life, and I’m so happy that they have each other, and that we have been blessed with the addition of Jake to our family. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

999970_10205491159385935_2192146512980116356_nMy grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock, who is the son of my nephew Ryan Hadlock and his wife, Chelsea, is such a sweet boy. I had the chance to talk to my sister, Alena Stevens, who works at Verda James Elementary School, where Ethan and his sister Aurora go to school, and I asked her about Ethan from a school perspective…not because I expected him to be very different than he is at home, but because she would see him from a different perspective than his parents or grandparents. What she told me, was a very nice, pleasant surprise, in a way, and yet, not totally unexpected, because as she told me about it, I could totally see Ethan in her words.

Alena told me that Ethan is a good boy, and a good student, a fact that was corroborated by his mother’s words that he is rated as exceptional in his class in reading and math. For a parent, hearing that your children are well behaved and well liked in school, is quite 934776_10202457190138600_8886166836631068153_nrewarding, because it speaks to their parenting skills. Ryan and Chelsea are good parents, and they have raised beautiful, loving children. Alena told me that he made friends quickly and easily, when he came to Verda James, and as anyone who has changed schools before will tell you, making new friends can be hard. Not for Ethan though. He is just such a pleasant, kind, and well behaved boy, that kids are naturally drawn to him. Ethan is always cheerful, and as I said, kind, and one thing that sometimes doesn’t happen…good to his little sister. He always makes sure that she is where she needs to be, and that she has everything she needs. You often see a little girl who motherly, but boys don’t always take the time to help their younger siblings. Ethan is an exception to that rule. As much as he is all boy, he is still good to Aurora, and that makes his stand out to those adults, and children too, around him. Ethan is starting to get into Lego Robotics, and really loves it. He still loves Star Wars, and enjoys playing Minecraft too.

11052885_10206375593498903_3791205809575654238_nProbably the most surprising thing that my sister told me was the little story about the Book Fair. She told me that Ethan doesn’t like to burden anyone. He wanted a book from the Book Fair, but didn’t want to bother his mom by asking for the money. He kept bringing what he had from home not knowing it wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, he tried to get a little more money and even brought in a gift card he had received. The librarian felt so bad that he didn’t have enough, so she just took what he had and gave him the book. Knowing his parents, as we do, we know that his mom would have gladly given him the money, but he just didn’t want to burden her. What a kind, loving boy!! Today is Ethan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! You are never a burden!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

isaac-leeisaac-footballMy grand nephew, Isaac Spethman is the youngest boy in his family, and the youngest big brother to his little sister, Aleesia. Sometimes that is a good thing, but sometimes, they fight like cats and dogs. Nevertheless, they are close, and the little tiffs are few. For the most part, Isaac and his siblings, Xander, Zack, and Aleesia get along great. Isaac and his brothers are doing a great job of turning serious girly girl, Aleesia into a bit of a tomboy too.

The Spethman family is a sporting family. The boys all play football, and they even have their own little cheerleader. The boys may be very rough and tumble football players, but when it comes to their sister…well don’t mess with her. Isaac and his brothers love to run scrimmages out in the front yard. Of course, they love to play lots of games in the front yard, like war games, wrestling matches, or snowball fights. Isaac and his brothers are definitely boys.

Isaac loves guns too, as do his brothers and his parents, Steve and Jenny. Of course, the kids all are learning about guns, and gun safety, but whenever he has the chance, Isaac likes to play gun slinger. He likes to be the robber who holds up his little sister, of have gun fights with his brothers. Isaac is a busy kid with many interests, most of them the same a his brothers. I suppose that comes from being the youngest boy in the bunch. Most younger siblings look up to their older siblings, whether they like to admit it or not.

Isaac is often a quiet kid, but maybe that is just when he is around people he doesn’t know well. Or maybe it is just when he is around adults. He certainly isn’t quiet on Thursday nights when he gets together with his and-a-cheerleaderfootball-boyscousins, Matthew and Anna. His cousin Raelynn doesn’t play very much, but when Matt, Anna, Xander, Zack, Isaac, and Aleesia get together, things are going to get rowdy. Now their parents and grandma, really don’t always appreciate that, and there is the invariable injury somewhere in the mix, but the kids are usually having a pretty great time…they just don’t do it as quietly as their parents would prefer. Such is life. Today Isaac turn ten years old. Happy 10th birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

9913_10200970590682908_964160129_nBeing a big, muscular kid can have its advantages. You can be pretty sure no one is going to pick on you. That is the case with my grand nephew, Xander Spethman. Xander takes after his dad, Steve Spethman in many ways. He is very much built like his dad, and in so many ways, he has the same values, personality, and strong sense of right and wrong that his dad has…of course, he also gets that from his mom, my niece, Jenny Spethman. While they were the ones that trained Xander up in the way he should go, in reality, Xander already had within himself that protective instinct.

Xander is particularly protective of his little sister, Aleesia, as are her other brothers, Xander blocks for AleesiaZack and Isaac. They know about loss, having lost their other sister, Laila, and Xander, being the oldest, felt the sting of that loss deeply. Then God blessed this family with a second daughter, Aleesia, and the brothers have basically made her the princess. She rules the roost, and the brothers are just fine with that. One day a short time ago, they all decided to play football in the yard. Aleesia wanted to play too, so it was Xander and Aleesia against Zack and Isaac. Aleesia was basically made the quarterback, and Xander blocked his brothers so they couldn’t get to her. I’m sure you all know that Zack and Isaac were fully aware of the plan too, because they could have tackled Aleesia a couple of times. They just wouldn’t, because she is the princess, and that just isn’t done. Nevertheless, even in play, Xander is the protector of his little sister, and I’m sure that you all know that if anyone really tried to pick on his little sister, Xander would turn into a roaring lion, and they would wish they had never dared to bother Aleesia.
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Xander is a champion of protection for those around him who do not have his strength and size. He doesn’t like to see anyone picked on, and he has stood up for someone being bullied more than once. Often, it is the bigger kids who tend to be the bullies, but not in Xander’s case. He is the protector of those who need protection. He would never have it in his heart to bully anyone, because inside that big kid lives a tender, loving, and very kind heart. It really is such a blessing to see how Xander has matured as the years have passed. He never was a bully, but he has become more and more the guy that everyone knows they can count on for anything. Today is Xander’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

SweetheartsYesterday, my grand nephew, Jacob Vincent Harmon married the love of his life, Melanie Cossabone in a cozy little setting in front of their families. The wedding was held at the home of the groom’s parents, Chantel and Dave Balcerzak, with a family dinner afterward. Jake and Melanie were both so happy and the ceremony was perfect. It’s hard for me to believe that Jake…my first grand nephew is old enough to be married, but of course at 25 years old, he is. It’s strange how someone can go along and not know that something is missing, until they find that one person who completes them. That is really how it is for Jake and Melanie. They are so perfect for each other, that it is hard to think of one without thinking of the other.

Jake and Melanie met through a mutual friend, and they knew that they really liked each other immediately. Before long, they knew it was love. Now they have married, and are ready to start the rest of their lives. They have two sweet little daughters, Alice, who is Melanie’s from a prior relationship, and Izabella who arrived on December 21, 2015, as an early Christmas present to them. Life is perfect for them now, and it is easy for the rest of us to see just how very happy they are.Jake & Melanie Harman

Melanie is a perfect fit in our family too. Many times, family members really don’t like the person their kids choose to marry, but we all love Melanie. She is the perfect mix of funny and sweet, and that is just perfect for Jake, who is a big jokester, with a sweet side of his own. Melanie adds a bit of balance to their lives too. She is always there for Jake. She takes care of their daughters and makes a wonderful home for Jake. That, in itself, makes the rest of the family think that she is very special.

So, yesterday, their wedding day, was the perfect next step for this sweet couple, and we all want to congratulate then and wish them all of God’s greatest blessing, as they start their new life together. I believe they will have the happiest of marriages, blessed in every way, and that they will live happily ever after. Melanie and Jake…you make a beautiful couple. Congratulations!! We are so happy for you!!

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