grandbabies

My nephew, Dave Balcerzak is a likeable guy, who is highly skilled in computer technology, but never acts like a know it all. Dave just isn’t wired that way. He isn’t the snobby type, who like to tell everyone how great they are…whether they can back it up or not. The way he sees it, and I would agree, is that if you know your job, you don’t have to tell everyone how well you know your job, because people will be able to see that for themselves. Arrogance never was a skill…it was rather an insecurity. Dave is a IT technician for the State of Wyoming, and they know how blessed they are to have him, because…Dave is great at what he does. He won’t blow his own horn, so I’ll do it for him!!

Dave has been a part of our family since he married my niece, Chantel on June 22, 2002. They had known each other since they were both kids, but both went their separate ways as adults…until God brought them back together, and they have been happily married for 15 years. Dave has been a wonderful dad to his kids, Keifer and Katy, as well as to Chantel’s kids, Jake and Siara. And he has become a wonderful grandpa to Jake’s children, Alice, Izabella, and Jaxx. Now, in February of 2018, Dave will become a grandpa again, as his son Keifer, and Keifer’s wife, Katie have their first child. It is an exciting time for Dave, who loves little kids, and is just basking in the role of grandpa. Dave’s personality is such that the kids love to be around him, and that makes life even better, because he loves being around those grandbabies too.

Dave is a sports guy. He likes all kinds of sports, and loves to hang with his kids and watch sports. Dave plays darts, and while I have never watched him play, I hear that he is very good, and very competitive. That’s ok, because the only way to get good at a sport is to be competitive, either with others, or against yourself. Dave has his own “man cave” and Chantel is ok with letting his have his sport sessions down there, and she might even join in…once in a while. Watching sports with the kids has been a way to keep them close, and for Dave, who is a family guy, that is very important.

Today, Dave joins the ranks of the 50+ club, as he turns 50. It is hard for me to believe that Dave could be 50. He doesn’t act like it, and in reality, it just doesn’t seem possible that I could have nephews in their 50s…even though it should, because Dave isn’t the first one. Still, I don’t know where the time has gone. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When I first met my future sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, at the young age of 13 years, she was a vibrant girl, full of life, and she was what I thought of as a picky eater. Now, this didn’t upset me, but I just noticed that she would rather eat…well, what we would all today know is healthy, but still it seemed odd. What kid would rather eat chicken and salad than a cheeseburger? Actually, I can name a couple, because Jennifer wore off on my daughter, Amy Royce…so much so that I have wondered if she should have been Jennifer’s daughter, and not mine. Nevertheless, kids get traits from their aunts and uncles too, and that was the one Jennifer passed down to Amy. To my daughter Corrie Petersen, Jennifer passed down her laugh, and believe me when I say that they are identical!! I often wonder when Jennifer got there, when in fact it is Corrie.

Whether she knew it or not, Jennifer was well on her way to a life of health care, as well as a life of healthy living. She was a teeny little girl with a teeny little waist…that she still has, by the way, and yes she was a picky eater, but not is a bad way, as it turns out. It isn’t often that a young teenager has a pretty good grasp of ways to stay healthy, and I can’t say for sure that Jennifer had it all together, but at least in the diet arena, she did. As the years went on and Jennifer grew up, she had her babies, and like most women, gained a little bit of weight, but once she decided that it was time to get her life back together, she never looked back. Jennifer skies…both cross country and down hill. She snow shoes, hikes, and jogs. Her life is a flurry of activity, and it is what has kept her slender over the years.

Jennifer is also a full time nurse, in the Obstetrics department at Wyoming Medical Center, where she has worked since she was a candy striper beginning at 17 years old. So, in reality, she has been in the health care industry almost as long as I have known her, and most of our family has been blessed to have her in attendance at the births of the children and grandchildren. I would hate to have had my grandchildren come into this world with any other nurse, because we were so spoiled by the great care and advise we got from Jennifer. Nurses just don’t get better than she is. I’m sure her daughter-in-law, Ashley Parmely would agree too, since Jennifer has been there with her for the births of her daughters, and will be for the upcoming birth of her son, who will be Jennifer’s first grandson, too. Today is Jennifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Jennifer!! What a blessing you are. Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been the sweetest one of us all, and I don’t say that to sound like the rest of us are horrible hags, because that isn’t the case at all. It’s just that if you ask any one of my other three sisters or me, what one thing we all agreed on concerning Allyn, it was that “Allyn was always good.” As a little girl, our mom couldn’t spank or even yell at Allyn, because she would become so broken hearted…when Mom simply told her no-no. Allyn just has a very tender heart, to this day. Being tender hearted can have it’s really good side too. Allyn has a kind way about her, and it is not something that goes unnoticed in any setting. Everyone notices her kindness and sweet ways.

Over the years, Allyn has done her very best to always make those around her feel loved and blessed. She had special nicknames for her kids, and songs using their name that she either made up or replaced a name in a song with theirs. One thing her kids could always count on is that their mom was going to put a smile on their face every day. We all felt that way, so I know what I am talking about.

Other than being married to her husband, Chris Hadlock and having her children, Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock, I think that the greatest blessings in recent years have come in the form of her children’s spouses, Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore, and now the beautiful little grandbabies she has, Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, and Adelaide Sawdon. These days the little name songs have the names of those precious babies in them, and Allyn makes sure that each of those babies knows that they are just the sweetest one, and while it might seem odd that each one could be the sweetest one, in the world of a grandma, that is totally possible. Grandmas love each baby the most, no matter how many there are. That’s because we love each one the same…100%. Allyn is as blessed as a woman can be, and she is still thought of as the sweetest one. In fact, that very thing came up last night when I was at our sister Cheryl’s house and we were talking. We all agreed that Allyn was always good. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Dustine & Greg HushmanWhen death silently steals the one you love…your best friend and the love of your life…it is the most life altering moment that anyone can ever experience. You had thought you would grow old together, and now you find that is not to be. Two days ago, the life of my dear cousin, Greg Hushman was altered by the loss of his precious wife, Dustine. Her passing was unexpected, and that made it that much more shocking to all of us…especially Greg. Dustine and Greg met in Casper, Wyoming after both of them had been divorced. It was a second chance for them, and it would become their happily ever after.

Their blended family would share many wonderful times. They would see the weddings of their children, and the birth of grandbabies. Their love grew with every passing day, week, and year. Their marriage was blessed in so many ways. At times, it seemed too good to be true. When I asked Greg’s daughter, Stephanie Willard for a little bit of information on Dustine, it was a bit hard for her. They live on different sides of the country, and so don’t get to see each other very often, except on Facebook. Nevertheless, Stephanie said something that has remained in my heart, although she probably doesn’t even know what she said. It was one of the nicest things a step-daughter could say, I think, and the most mature. She said, “Dustine made my dad happy, and that made me happy.” What a tribute!! In this life, filled with its ups and downs, happiness and sadness, love and loss, what better thing to be remembered for than the simple truth that you made your spouse and family happy. To some, that may seem like a less than stellar goal, but not to anyone who has truly found such happiness.

When my sister, Cheryl Masterson, my mom, Collene Spencer, and I went to Washington in 2013 to visit our cousins there, and attend the funeral of my Uncle Jim Wolfe, we had the opportunity to get together for dinner with Greg, and his brother, George. We had hoped their wives could have come, but it didn’t work out that way. It had been a very long time since we saw either of the girls, especially Dustine. As we talked, Greg told us that he had bought Dustine a new car, and you could just see how pleased he was with that. His eyes sparkled with delight, at being able to do this for her. You could see that he was reliving the moment over and over in his memory. Yes, I agree with Stephanie, Dustine made Greg happy, and Greg made Dustine happy too.

It makes me feel so sad to know that Dustine has left us now, but like Greg, I am glad that the constant pain she was in since an accident at UPS many years ago, is over now. She will always be in our hearts, as grief eventually gives way to memories of happier times. We love you Dustine. Rest in Jesus now, until we see you again in Heaven.

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