There is nothing worse, for the youngest sibling, than to be left at home while the rest of the kids get to go to school. They just don’t understand why they can’t go along. I’m sure that after a while they forget some and go find something to occupy themselves until the rest of the kids come home, but that just doesn’t really alleviate that lonely feeling. They love their siblings and they miss them, and that is all there is to it. So every morning they hurry to get ready, hoping that maybe today will be the day when they finally get to go along…even putting on their own backpack to show their mom that they are ready…but to no avail.
My grand niece, Aleesia Spethman is the youngest of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve’s kids. She has three older brothers, and she thinks they are the greatest. They feel the same way about her too. When the boys go outside to play, Aleesia thinks she should get to go outside too. When they go to school, she wants to go too. It doesn’t really matter what the boys are doing, because if they are doing it, Aleesia wants to do it too. Her brothers are the coolest…after all.
Still, like it or not, Fall happens, and the boys have to go back to school, because that is what kids do in the Fall. And that leaves Miss Aleesia standing at the front door, in her Jammys and her boots, with her Little Mermaid backpack, feeling a little bit like she is on the outside looking in. She wants to go where her brothers are, but she is not allowed to do so. It’s simply against the rules. And that leaves a sad look on our smiley girl’s little face.
It’s such a sad little scene…a little girl looking longingly out the door, wishing she could go with her brothers, and do all the cool things they get to do. There she is wondering why she is the baby of the family. It just isn’t fair. Her mommy looks on with her own heart breaking just a little bit for this tiny girl of hers who is already learning that life isn’t always fair. It is a moment that will stay in her memory files, like it will for anyone who sees this picture. There is no way to explain to Aleesia that it has to be this way…for now. No way to explain that before she knows it, she will be in school too, and then she will wish she could stay home with mommy and have girl time. So, Jenny does the only thing she can do. She goes to her girl, and invites her to play some little game, or asks her if she wants to go to the mall, or maybe watch her favorite movie. Before she can shed too many tears, her mommy has her mind focused on other things, and the sad moment is over. She will miss her brothers several more times before they get home, but then…when school is done for the day…she puts on her smiley face again. Her brothers are home…and all is right in her world.
Watching Matthew grow from a baby, to a toddler, to a little boy of nine years, I have seen so many changes in him. He was his daddy’s boy from the very start…in fact I am amazed at just how much he looks like my nephew, Rob Masterson. They are like twins, except for the difference in their ages. They are a lot alike in their personalities too. Both are tough guys, but when it comes to their sisters, they are as kind as can be. Matthew is so patient with the girls. He likes being big brother to Anna, and doesn’t even mind being little brother to Raelynn, and oldest sister, Christina. In some ways, I think it would be hard to be the only boy in a family of girls, but Matthew doesn’t seem to mind. He is so loving and caring toward his sisters, and he would defend them to the end…even against his parents, if he thinks the situation warrants it. Nevertheless, he is not above torturing them himself…but, understand this…no one else had better try.
Matthew has a caregiver’s heart…a bit like his Great Aunt Caryn and his Grandma, my sister, Cheryl. Recently, when his mom, my niece Dustie, had to have surgery, he stayed by her side for two days, making sure that she had whatever she needed. Matthew may be a little boy, but his heart is great big, and he is a family man to his very core. That makes him a hero is his mother’s eyes, and I think there are a lot of us who would absolutely agree with her on that. It’s funny, that while Matthew is going to be a big third grader this year, not much has changed in his personality, because Matthew is clearly a boy who is completely settled on who he is. His family is important, and he is all about what is important.
Matthew is, nevertheless, a macho man. He loves sports. He plays basketball and soccer, and he is learning to shoot. Like most boys his age, he is excited about all of the opportunities that have come his way in the area of sports. He never was the kind of kid to sit around doing nothing. He is always on the move. That is a good thing when it comes to sports. You have to stay on top of things if you are going to be a good player, and Matthew is a mover. He is able to scoot around quickly to be where he needs to be to do some good in the game. I am quite certain that as he grows up, he will be a great player and team member. Today is Matthew’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Kellie is one of the happiest, most positive people I have ever met…in fact, I can’t recall a time when she wasn’t happy. Kellie is one of those people who look for happiness where ever she goes, and when you look for happiness, I believe you will always find it. She doesn’t let the little problems in life get her down. Many of us could learn something from Kellie’s happiness, because it isn’t that no negative things ever happens in her life, but rather what she chooses to do with it that makes her life happy. I love to hear Kellie laugh, because when she does, you are about to laugh too. That’s just the way it is. You can’t be around Kellie when she is laughing and not laugh too. Her laugh is the most contagious laugh I have ever heard.
Kellie is such a free spirit. She knows what she likes, and that’s what she does. Her home reflects her brightly colored tastes. Nothing dreary can exist in Kellie’s place, because that just doesn’t fit in her joy, joy, joy…down in my heart style. If you go to Kellie’s house, you will find it bright and cheery…just like her, but be aware that she has a bird. I don’t know how much Petey is loose in the house, but I think that if Kellie is there, Petey is free to roam. And maybe Petey isn’t the kind of bird who likes to dive bomb people, but many birds are. I do know that Petey likes to nap on Kellie’s shoulder. Why should he be different? Lots of people love to be around Kellie…so you can’t blame him.
Family is the biggest thing in Kellie’s life. She is very close to her parents, my sister, Allyn and her husband Chris, sisters, Jessi and Lindsay, sister-in-law, Chelsea, brother, Ryan, brothers-in-law, Jason and Shannon, and of course, her nephew, Ethan, and niece, Aurora. She loves taking pictures with all of them, to keep as memories of the great times they have had. She loves spending time up on the mountain at her parents place there, just hanging around by the campfire. In Kellie’s life, the only thing more important than her family is her Lord. Kellie loves music ministry, and is an amazing singer, and forever an uplifting person. We are all very blessed to have Kellie in our lives. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
Every time I look at this picture of Bob’s great grandfather, Orin Eugene Noyes, who went by Eugene, I can’t help but notice that he looks like the fictional character Geppetto from the book, Pinocchio, or at least the picture I have in my head of what he would have looked like. I never met Bob’s great grandfather, nor did Bob, because Eugene passed away in 1928, but when you look at him, you can see that he was a nice and very kind man. I wanted to know a little bit more about him, so I began to look for any stories there might be out there. I wasn’t very successful in finding any stories about him, so I decided to see what he did for a living. I don’t know, maybe I had a feeling.
As you all know, Geppetto was a wood carver, more specifically, he made wood furniture. That was how he came up with the idea of making Pinocchio. So, I started looking for any other information on Eugene Noyes. In my search, I found out that his dad was a farmer. That isn’t really anything that would tie in to my idea of who Eugene reminded me of. I kept looking and came across a census in 1910. I was quite surprised to find that Eugene Noyes was the owner of a furniture store. How funny is that? No, he didn’t build the furniture…at least not that I know of, but he sold furniture, and that was what Geppetto did too. I know it is a little odd, but Geppetto is who Bob’s great grandfather reminded me of, and as it turns out, he was a similar type of person.
As I look at this man, who had a big part in giving me my husband, I can see what a gentle soul he was. His face showed such gentleness…such kindness. I think he was a man who very much loved being a father and grandfather, and loved his family with all his heart. No, his life was not childless as that of Geppetto, but I believe that they shared a love of children, and that desire to be parents. Eugene wasn’t always a furniture store owner, but rather a farmer like his father before him. He started out farming, and then owner the furniture store, which makes me wonder if there was a drought, or the crops were lost for some other reason, and he decided to try something different. After about ten years in the furniture business, he decided to retire back to farming, and would do that for the rest of his life. Nevertheless, for those ten years, he was very close to the Geppetto that I have imagined him to be.
Few things are harder on a mother, than disciplining their child. Especially when their little darling is so heartbroken about it. And then, if he pulls a 1-800-Grandma on them, it can get worse, because for those of you who haven’t guessed, 1-800-Grandma is when a grandchild tells grandma on mommy, and then mommy has to reiterate that the punishment will stand, even in the face of Grandma’s sad and sympathetic look.
Such was the case the other day at a family gathering, when my niece, Chelsea told her son, Ethan, that he couldn’t have a piece of cake, because he had acted up. Of course, Ethan went to sit with his grandma, my sister, Allyn and told her that he couldn’t have any cake. When she asked him why, he said, crying the whole time, “Mommy won’t let me!!” Like me, Allyn has a really soft heart when it comes to those grandbabies, even though we might have done very differently with our own kids. It’s just that…these are our grandbabies, and we can’t stand denying them anything!!
Of course, this new twist to the situation is about to get…ugly for Mommy. Allyn turned to Chelsea and said, “Why can’t he have cake?” That left Chelsea to defend her decision…or Ethan would know that he could get away with it by going to Grandma. So, Chelsea said, “You know you would do the same thing, if you were me!!” Oops!! Allyn, like me, had stepped into the middle of something we really wished we hadn’t. Just why is it that we don’t turn right round and chew out that grandbaby for putting us in the middle? It’s what we would have done if it were our mom, and our children! So what makes this different? Mostly, it’s that we did not dish out the punishment, and after all…its our grandbaby…so how is it that Grandma can’t fix this little heartbreak for him!!! That is a grandma’s job…can’t his mother understand that!!
Nevertheless, Chelsea stood her ground, and Ethan got no cake. He will know the next time, that when his mommy says to do something, she means it. It is a lesson that every good mother has to make sure her child learns. If they don’t, they will always be out of control, and no one will want to be around them. Really, she is doing Ethan and his little sister, Aurora a great service by teaching them the rules when they are little, because if they are little terrors, people don’t want to be around them, and don’t want their kids around them either. Ethan and Aurora are good children, and, as we all know, Grandma’s heart will be ok.
It doesn’t make it any easier to discipline your children, because in reality, it breaks Mommy’s heart too. That is her baby, and even though whatever he did was wrong, not allowing him to have cake is pure torture…for Mommy!!! It is the act of a good mother though, and must be done. Today is Chelsea’s birthday!! She is a good mom. I think Ethan will be a good little boy and will get some cake today. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day, and don’t make Ethan call 1-800-Grandma!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Topher, who is my niece Andrea’s son, is probably a lot like most little boys…into super heroes. They dream of being just like their favorite one. Topher is very into the Avengers, the Justice League, and my favorite, Superman. I think every boy dreams of being a super hero at some point in their lives. I suppose it is the goodness in those little boys that makes them want to rescue people in trouble…to fix whatever is wrong in the lives of loved ones and strangers alike.
Topher is the kind of kid who hates to let people down. He hates to have people upset with him, and he hates to be the reason anyone is sad…or even see people sad. He has a great big heart, and it gets broken when those around him are not happy. Topher likes everything in his world to be…happy. I can’t blame him for that. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we really could live in the Land of Perfect, where everyone is happy and all is well. The good news is that when you get around a kid like Topher, your world seems to take a turn toward the Land of Perfect…at least a little bit. It’s awfully hard to stay sad when you see a smiling, goofy, little face like Topher’s.
Topher is the kind of kid that little kids love to be around. He is very compassionate and caring, and because of his great sense of humor, little kids really Get a kick out of him. Of course, big kids do too. Topher’s big sister, Savannah is one of his favorite people in the world, as are his dad and mom. He has a serious sense of family, and feels very blessed to have the one he has. He also loves his dogs, because they are family too…especially to a little boy.
Topher is such a happy kid that he makes others around him happy too. Maybe that is why he likes super heroes so much. Super heroes save people from terrible situations, and Super-Topher saves people from sad moments and days. Does it get better than that? Today is Topher’s 8th birthday. I can’t believe that he is 8 already. Happy birthday Super-Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Yesterday, my dear father-in-law passed away. It was a hard day for all of us. I have been thinking back over the years that I have been a part of this family. There were so many good memories. I will never forget the first time I met my future in-laws. There is no easy way to meet your boyfriend’s parents. You are simply a nervous wreck. We were going out to their house for dinner, and once I arrived, my father-in-law, broke the ice with his teasing ways. As so many girls who have known him can tell you, his first words were about what a “pretty girl” I was. When I blushed, he knew that I would be a good one to tease. My mother-in-law chewed him out for picking on me, but to that, my father-in-law simply grinned, and I knew I had made a new friend. By the end of the evening, I felt totally at home with my future in-laws.
This hard working man began working when he was just 13 years old. He worked at a ranch, milking cows before and after school. So began his working life, and he would be a hard working man for many years to come. While he was tough in many ways, when it came to his kids, he was a big teddy bear. His family was his life, and he had a soft heart when it came to them. All of his kids knew that they could call him whenever they needed wisdom concerning any situation. He always seemed to have an answer or at least an idea as to how to solve the problem. He had so much experience in so many areas, that often there was no need to call someone else to help. Even when they did need to call someone else, he probably knew someone who could do the job well and for less.
As for me…well, Dad always made me feel special. From that first meeting, until our last visit on Saturday night, his love for me was such a blessing. I felt so honored on the day he said, “You are no longer my daughter-in-law, you are my daughter.” I had the great privilege of taking care of this wonderful man since 2007. During that time I watched his brave struggle against the disease that would eventually take his life. He was not a man to complain, and he always hated to be a bother. Since we spent much time together these last few years, we became very close. His smile will always be in my memory. He was a man who returned the love he was given…in triplicate.
He had a team of caregivers, including his sons, Bob and Ron; his daughters Brenda, Jennifer, and Debbie, when she was in town; daughters-in-law, Rachel and me; his grandchildren, Corrie, Amy, and Barry, and Machelle, when she was in town; and great grandchildren, Chris, Shai, Caalab, and his special caregiver, Josh, who took extra special care of his great grandpa; his sister-in-law, Margee, and her granddaughter, Stasi, who did whatever we asked of them; and of course, his wife, Joann, who watched over him carefully, even though she had Alzheimer’s Disease, and was unable to fully understand what was wrong. There were so many others who showed him kindness and love in these last days, and their love and kindness was not lost to him…the doctors, nurses, and aides at Wyoming Medical Center; Dr Schoeber, Dr Novick, Dr Dowell, Dr Hussieno, Dr Wilkinson, and their kind staff members; the staff at Sharon’s Home Health Care, especially Deb and Sherry; Angie, his respite caregiver; and the nurses and aides and Shepherd of the Valley nursing home, which he loving called the Sheep Herders Place…he had some good times there. I want to thank each and every one of you. Your kindness to him will never be forgotten. We love you Dad, and we’ll always miss you.
I wasn’t there when my future Uncle Jim met my Aunt Ruth, of course, because I wasn’t even born yet, but I can imagine how he must have felt, because he had found his one and only. All it took was one look at the two of them together, and you could see just how deep their love was. There would never be anyone else for either one of them. They were married on September 15, 1946, and began a life full of love, laughter, and later, a desire to see new places and find their special paradise.
After living several places, they found that special place in the mountains near Newport, Washington. There, with their family around them, they settled down in their last home. Grief had crossed their paths while living in California, when their middle child, and oldest son, Larry was killed in an accident. Washington would become a retreat…a way to get beyond their grief and feel alive again, in the beauty of nature. They had always loved the great outdoors, and now it would become a healing balm for their hearts too.
When my Aunt Ruth passed away, on May 11, 1992, Uncle Jim’s heart was broken, and maybe his spirit a little bit too. The love of his life was gone from him for now. She existed only in his future now…in Heaven, waiting for him to join her again. For many years now, Uncle Jim has been living in the past…the one thing that the Alzheimer’s Disease couldn’t rob him of. He could see his lovely bride…his one and only…beautiful as ever, always beside him, reminding him of the wonderful life they had shared and the wonderful future they would share soon.
Uncle Jim passed away yesterday at the good old age of 91. He lived a happy life but his body was tired and it was time for him to leave this life and start the next one. He was surrounded by his loving family, and the wonderful nurses and CNAs who had cared for him for the past 7 years, and who will miss him terribly. His joyful voice, singing as he wandered through the halls of the nursing home, is silenced now, no more to delight those who loved to hear it. His smiling face no more to brighten the day of all who saw it. And there will be more than one nurse who will miss being chased around the home by this little old man saying he loved them.
His antics done here on Earth, Uncle Jim has gone home, to begin his future in Heaven. He was met by his one and only, Aunt Ruth, his son Larry, and all the family who had gone before him. He is free again, with his body and mind intact. The disease that had kept him bound all these years, no longer has its hold on him. He is free, healthy, happy, and surrounded by the loved ones who were awaiting his arrival. We love you Uncle Jim, and while we will miss you very much, we are thankful that you are safe in God’s loving arms. We will see you again very soon.
My dad was always a cowboy at heart. In his younger days, he rode horses, worked on the family farm, and did all the other cowboy type things. He listened to country music, and liked old westerns on television, or attend the rodeo. But, the one thing that that, in my opinion showed his cowboy style the best, was the cowboy hat that he so often wore. You almost never saw him in any other hat on vacation, and he wore it if they went someplace that it would fit in for. I’m quite sure he hated not being able to wear it to the places that it just wasn’t appropriate.
Dad always took such good care of his hat, and you could always tell that he was one of the good guys, because his hat was always white, and of course, the good guys in any old western, wore a white hat. I suppose that was like the football teams of today. If all the helmets looked alike, how would you know which team was yours. So we always knew that Dad was a good guy, because he wore a white hat.
Oh, Dad had other hats too, and in fact I can vividly see him is one of the many baseball type hats he had, and of course, there was the hat that was a tool of his trade…the hard hat. I clearly remember him in those, but I never felt like they fit his personality like the cowboy hat did. Dad was always the guy I thought of when someone said cowboy. He wore the Bolo ties, and the western belt and vest, and what cowboy would be complete without the cowboy boots, but none of that said cowboy as much as the cowboy hat.
When I think of my dad, I have to say that one of my favorite pictures is of Dad on a horse with his white cowboy hat. He was doing one of his favorite things…taking his family on a vacation. They had taken a horseback ride on a trail, and Dad looked so happy. He was in his element, in the mountains on vacation, and riding a horse. Just what a cowboy would want to be doing.
As much as I dislike snow, and the inevitable wind that always seems to come with it, there are times when, if I have just a moment of free time, and if I stop long enough, I can look at the snow and possibly see something beautiful. It’s hard to do that though…slow down…look around…stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Everything in life these days demands a hectic schedule. Every day I try to cram everything I need to do into a day that doesn’t have enough moments in it, let alone hours.
I had just such a moment on New Years Eve. I had the day off, and Bob had to work. I still had my caregiving duties, but I had a little bit of quiet time late in the morning. I took a look outside, and there it was. The wind had quit. The snow was a little bit windblown, but smooth in many ways. The sun had come out and was shining brightly on the snow. The air was cold…frigid really, but it didn’t matter. I stepped outside, and looked at the snow. The sun was so bright, it made my eyes water, but I still couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
The snow was beautiful, but looking deeper I saw what the snow tries to hide from those who just casually glance at it. So often we miss the deep inner beauty of the snow. There in front of my eyes I saw the riches of the snow…the gems that it had been hiding…snow diamonds. “What”, you might ask, “are snow diamonds?” Well, they are not just ice crystals sparkling in the sunshine. They are much more than that. They are the little glimmer of hope that no matter how heavy our burdens are…no matter how tough our job or our life is…there are still beautiful things around us that can lift our spirits, brighten our days, soothe our souls, and mend the brokenness that comes from a life that is lived far too often in a hurry.
As I stood there in the crisp cold air, looking once more at the beauty that had been pointed out to me by my Lord, in an effort to show me the things He has made that I might have missed, I felt a warmth inside me…a smile that started in my heart and after making a brief stop in my consciousness, it came to rest on my face. I closed my eyes so I could fix the image in my memory. With their beauty, the snow diamonds had completed their appointed work. They had lifted this caregiver’s spirit…brightened my day…and made me feel like I could breathe again.