My grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock is just growing up so fast…in more ways than one. He is in his last year of middle school, which means this is his final semester of 8th grade. The fact that he is going to be in high school next year would probably be more shocking to people were it not for his size. Ethan is on track to stand around 6 foot 5 inches or so, like his dad, Ryan Hadlock and his grandpa, Chris Hadlock. He isn’t there yet, of course, but he is taller than most 8th grade boys, making him look like a high school student already. His parents are finding it difficult to keep him in jeans these days. He not only outgrows them, but the waist to length ratio is hard to find. Right now, he wears a 29/34…and is quickly heading for 29/36. Another fact that I find surprising, is that Ethan is already growing a mustache!! When a guy can do that in middle school, it is always shocking. It just doesn’t seem like that should be happening with a middle school boy, but there it is…literally!!
Ethan has been having great time expanding his horizons. He is playing percussion in band and is very much enjoying that. He comes from a musical family, so his talent in that area is not surprising. Another area in which Ethan has shown himself to be exceptional is in the area of leadership. In fact, his leadership has been so noticed that he was just selected for the Junior National Young Leadership Conference in Washington DC. We are all so proud of Ethan. He is a kind person and a natural leader. Ethan has long exhibited leadership capabilities, so while I’m surprised about the DC tri, it is only because I didn’t know kids his age went on these things. For Ethan to be chosen is not really surprising at all. That is just how Ethan is.
Ethan got a nerf gun for Christmas and has been playing with it a lot. While lots of kids would shoot the nerf bullets at other people, Ethan is the exception to that rule. He doesn’t shoot at people, a fact that shows maturity, and it makes me proud of him. Ethan is such a sweet young man. He cares about those around him…especially his little sister, for whom he has always been a guardian angel. He loves his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, and his great aunts and uncles. He never hesitates to give a hug when he greets them. He doesn’t care if they who sees him. He’s not shy about expressing his love for his family…they are very important to him. And he is very important to all of us too. Today is Ethan’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Athena Salazar is my grandson, Josh Petersen’s fiancée, and they are planning for the soon arrival of their little baby boy. Athena and Josh met in middle school, and while they weren’t an item then, they became an item when they reconnected at work almost two years ago, they quickly knew that it was love. I have been so amazed at how perfect they are for each other. Each of them is the perfect complement to the other. Athena is such a gentle person, and at this stage in her life, she is very ready to be a mommy…very ready!! And Josh is growing and becoming the man of the house.
Athena loves children. She has nieces and nephews who are very dear to her. She even works in a daycare center, which doesn’t surprise me, because it is very much the essence of Athena. She has a heart for people, but especially for children. I think she is going to be a wonderful mother. Athena also has a wonderful sense of humor. She can be totally goofy one minute and very sentimental the next. That is really just what Josh needed in his life. Someone to laugh with, as well as live out all the romantic, sentimental dreams that they both have.
Athena is a mix of sunflowers and red roses…her favorite flowers. I like that. She is a little bit country sunshine and a little bit quiet romance. Her home is decorated largely in sunflowers, with red roses mixed in, which makes it feel bright and sunny. I remember when Josh lived alone, and his walls were almost empty. His place needed a woman’s touch, and that’s where Athena came in. Now their house is a home, and soon their baby boy will come and make them a family…and what a wonderful day that will be. They can’t wait to get their family started!!
I love the couple that these two kids are. I can say kids, because I’m the grandma, and they will always be the kids to me. Grandmas can get away with that. I love how in love these kids are, and I can’t wait to see where their future takes them. Their pregnancy pictures are so cute, and I love how Josh is doing the “sympathy pregnancy” act, so Athena doesn’t feel alone. I’m not even sure he realizes it. He just loves her so much that it comes naturally. Today is Athena’s birthday. Happy birthday Athena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My youngest grandson, Josh Petersen is not a kid anymore. In fact, he and his fiancée, Athena Salazar are about to become parents…likely before the end of this month, or at the very latest, early next month. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that my “youngest” grandchild is so grown up and is about to become a daddy, but here we are. The years fly by so very fast. I remember when his mom dropped him and his brother, Chris Petersen at my house in the mornings. It was my job to take the kids to school each morning, since I went to work an hour later than my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce. Josh always came in the door with the same words…”Treat Grandma!!” There was no “Hi Grandma” or “I’m here, Grandma.” Just “Treat Grandma!!” That boy was always hungry. In fact, as much as he ate, I have no idea how he stayed so skinny, but he was certainly a skinny little kid.
All through his pre-driving school years, I took Josh and his brother to school, and then picked them up after so they could go to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. While it was really noisy, the kids always had a great time at the club. As they got a little bit older, I’m sure the pool tables and other “big kid” games were the big draw. Now finding those kids after the workday was over was a totally different story. There were so many kids there, that you really had to search hard to find your kids. It seems so long ago when those kids, Chris, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh were all in school. In so many ways, I really miss those days, but then if we were still in those days, I wouldn’t have the two great grandchildren I have, and little Justin, who is on the way.
His school days are over now, and Josh has become a man. He has met the girl of his dreams, Athena Salazar. Strangely, these two first met in middle school, and then reconnected when they were working together at Sanford’s. They knew right away that this was it…the real thing!! They have been inseparable ever since, and now their little family is growing, as they add baby, Justin. We are all so excited to meet him. Today is Josh’s 24th birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandniece, Aurora Hadlock is growing us so fast. It seems impossible that she could be going into middle school this year, but she is very excited about that. Aurora is a social girl, and she is really looking forward to the changing of classes, and the very real possibility of making lots of new friends. Middle school is such an exciting step for kids. They begin to take responsibility for getting themselves from class to class, and moving from teacher to teacher, and having different friends in each class. The newfound variety is new and lots of fun. It makes the student feel very grown up…and after all, they are getting very grown up.
While middle school is so much more grown up, there are still things that make school fun for the students. Aurora is signing up for Lego Robotics again this year. I am always amazed with the things the kids make with the Legos. We had Legos when I was a kid, but the things we made were pretty elementary. These days the Legos move like robots. They open up and show you how they are made. They just aren’t your grandma’s Legos. These Legos have been transformed by these kids to the next level…and Aurora is very good at Lego Robotics!!
Aurora is also joining the book club. She loves to read, and this girl loves books. I can understand that too, because reading takes you to places you could never go otherwise. If you have a good imagination, and I believe she does, books can change the way you think and the way you see things. They open up the world to you, if you take the time to read the pages. I think Aurora is much like her mom there too, in fact she is her mini-me.
This summer, Aurora and her family got to go to Florida with her Grandma and Grandpa Hadlock (my sister, Allyn and her husband Chris), and the whole family. They rented a beautiful house down there, and everyone had a wonderful time. They got to swim and play on the beach, and they even got to take a little harbor cruise. Everyone had such a wonderful time, and it was such a memorable trip and such a blessing. It was a wonderful way to round out the summer, and I’m so glad that they got to go. Now Aurora is all ready to head back to school. She has had a great summer and now she is ready to head back to school. I know that she is going to have a wonderful first year of middle school, and I am very excited for her. Today is Aurora’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My great grandniece, Alice Green is growing up “so darned fast” as her mom tells me. Her parents, Melanie and Jake Harman really wish she would just slow down. Today, Alice is turning 10 and that just seems so impossible!! This coming school year will be her last year of elementary school. That seems impossible to me. I mean, she is only in 5th grade, but these days 6th grade is middle school, so there you go. Alice is a good student and works hard at her studies. I know that middle school is going to be a wonderful new experience for her, and I am so excited for the future changes that will bring, but for now, I know she will enjoy being one of the big kids on campus, and that will be fun for her too. It’s very strange that the older your kids get, the faster the years go by. The old song, “Don’t Blink” comes to my mind, with its big hint of sadness. Parents have to stay focused on every milestone, every event, and every little moment, because they will be gone before we know it, and the kids will be all grown up.
Alice is still a great big sister and growing into a beautiful young lady. Still, while her love for her family remains the same, many of her opinions and attitudes are changing. She is, after all, a teenager in a 10-year-old’s body!! Like the “terrible twos,” the teenage years creep up on you when you aren’t looking, and they often begin around ten or so. It’s not that Alice is sassy or anything, just getting so mature. She is a very sweet natured girl, and I really love how she interacts with her family, and especially her siblings. Isabella and Jaxx look up to their big sister, and she is always very good to them. It is a great blessing to their parents, and I love to see it too.
Alice and her stepdad, Jake have a unique relationship. It is really very little like a stepdad/stepdaughter relationship, and very much like a goofy kind of daddy/daughter relationship. They love to play random acts of rudeness on each other, both knowing that it’s a joke and all in good fun. Her mom thinks that’s what keeps the relationship so close. Alice is also very close with her mom too and very much Melanie’s mini-me…in looks and in personality. She is also a big help to Melanie with the younger children. Today is Alice’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandniece, Kaytlyn Griffith has shocked me with how much she has changed this year. I saw a picture of her with her family, and she is almost as tall as her older sister, Jala Satterwhite. What??? When did that happen? When I think of Kaytlyn, an 8-year-old girl comes to mind, but that was six years ago, so I need to catch up. The funny thing about kids is that for some reason, when they move from elementary school to middle school, suddenly this older kid emerges where a child once was, it seems.
Much has changed for Kaytlyn and her family with year, because her older sister moved out after graduation, leaving Kaytlyn the only child at home. That has been a strange change for the whole family. While Jala has her own place now, she and Kaytlyn have actually gotten a little closer now. Their mom, Susan Griffith told me that they even hug now, and that was totally tabu before, and they never hugged before. Even going camping is very different these days. It has usually been Kaytlyn’s mom and dad, Josh and Susan, and her sister, Jala, but this past year was just Kaytlyn and her parents. Jala was working, and in general, doing her own thing. One thing about being the only child at home, is that you get your choice of bedrooms, and so often the oldest child has had the “best” bedroom, but now, Kaytlyn has decided that Jala’s room was fair game, so she moved in there, and is feeling very privileged to have the best.
Kaytlyn is more than just a good student. She is an Honor Roll student. She loves school and has worked very hard at the goal of carrying a 4.0 GPA. She is extremely close to that goal now. She loves math and getting 100% on a math test is pretty common for this smart girl!! Kaytlyn was also a Covid middle schooler, in that she started middle school (6th grade) in the fall of 2019. Of course, we all know what happened next. The first few months were ok, but by Spring Break, Covid-19 had changed everything about school as we all knew it. The whole middle school experience was different than any of us ever could have imagined for that class. Kaytlyn went to one dance in 6th grade before all this started, and then her class didn’t have another dance until a few weeks ago. So, since 2019, she has only gone to two dances. It is sad, because Kaytlyn and her class have missed out on so much.
One consolation…for Kaytlyn anyway, is that because her family lives far enough out in the country, she can qualify for a “Hardship License.” For those who don’t know, that is for certain people who live far enough in the country that it puts a hard ship on their parents, so the state will let them start driving a year before the other kids. While middle school was sort of a “bust,” Kaytlyn will be starting high school in the Fall…and she will be driving. We can only hope that she has a better experience with high school than she did with middle school. Kaytlyn has worked so hard, and she deserves a great year. Today is Kaytlyn’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! we love you!!
My grand niece, Kaytlyn Griffith has reached a milestone in her life today. She is officially a teenager, turning 13 today. I find it very hard to believe that she could possibly be 13 already. It seems like just yesterday that Kaytlyn made her entrance into the world. Now, unbelievably, she is in her second year of Middle School already. School, now there’s a concept. We all thought we knew what school was like, but Covid-19 has completely blown our idea of school out of the water. Middle School is usually a time of learning more than just the educational studies. The students get to start having school dances, sports (which they also have in elementary school too), school politics, clubs, and other such activities. Unfortunately, with Covid, they haven’t had any dances and have to go straight to class when getting to school, instead of socializing for a while. It’s a whole new world, and the school kids are some of the worst hit by it.
The 2020 school year was the strangest one we have had since the 1918 Spanish Flue Pandemic. Things were normal, until Spring Break, and then it all stopped. School was over for the rest of the year. The Covid restrictions kept everyone at home, unless their jobs were deemed essential. Students had to adjust to online learning over Zoom or Google Classroom. Even screen time with their teachers was limited…often to 30 minutes a day. Parents became homeschool teachers, when they were not prepared for such an occupation. Kids became depressed and disinterested. The school year was a disaster, by anyone’s standards. Kaytlyn loves school, and this new educational reality was not a reality she wanted to be a part of. In fact, I don’t know of a single student that did want to be a part of it, or the current situation that is just a continuation of the new educational reality…school with a mask.
One good thing that came out of being home for the last part of the 2020 school year was that Kaytlyn’s family got a new animal friend…Olive. Olive is a mixed breed of Pit Bull, German Shepard, and Lab, and she is Kaytlyn’s best friend…well, animal friend, anyway. It was nice having Kaytlyn home with Olive, when she first came to live with them, to help with training her to go outside and not to chew stuff up. Kaytlyn and Olive’s birthdays are also very close. My Olive was born on March 4th, so Olive is 1 and Kaytlyn is 13. Susan finds herself feeling rather sad, because her children are officially no longer little kids. I know what she means. You are never ready for adult kids…or grandkids, but they don’t care. Kids just keep growing up.
Kaytlyn is really enjoying being back in school this year and working very hard on her grades. I’m not sure if we will ever really know how badly this online learning experiment hurt our kids…especially since “No Child Left Behind” doesn’t allow kids to be held back. They just get further and further behind. Thankfully, Kaytlyn is the exception to that rule too. This year with her hard work, Kaytlyn is carrying a 3.5 GPA, putting her on the Honor Roll!! Her parents are so proud of her, and so am I. Today is Kaytlyn’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The other day, I saw on her Facebook, where my grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock’s mom, Chelsea Hadlock had registered him for middle school for the fall semester. Chelsea mentioned that she suddenly felt old, and I found myself shocked that Ethan could be so grown up…already!! My sister and Ethan’s grandmother, Allyn Hadlock told me, “It seems like just yesterday that he was 2 and I was chasing him around our house. He loved the chasing game and I would catch him and give him little love pat spankins.” None of us can believe that he is almost in middle school now. The time has flown by so fast. While Ethan is growing up fast, he is not outgrowing everything he likes to do. He still loves games, but now it’s board games, “I Spy” games, video games, and sports. Typical of kids his age.
Ethan loves to get together with the whole family. He is a very social kid, and the family had a great time at Christmas and New Year’s. They hung out and enjoying each other’s company. They played bingo, letting Ethan and his sister, Aurora Hadlock take turns being the bingo callers. They loved rolling the cage around and getting the numbers out. Ethan is very kind and empathetic, and he truly cares about people. He wants to make sure that family and friends around him are comfortable and feel loved. He really is the sweetest boy, and it is something our whole family knows. Ethan’s dad, Ryan Hadlock is a playful teaser from way back, and Ethan has proven to be a quick study in that art. He has already started giving all of the family a hard time whenever he gets a chance.
Ethan and his cousin, Adelaide Sawdon have formed a special bond and can often be found “securing the perimeter” anytime they are together. Apparently, they both have an interest in spy games. They take their toys guns (whether an actual toy gun or a stick they have fashioned into one) and walk around the area we are in to ensure no spies, enemies, or unwanted guests can get in. He takes care to be patient and kind when explaining the rules of the game to his younger cousins, so they have a chance to play with their older and “adored” Ethan. He is so fun loving and the best nephew in our family…never mind that he is the only nephew!! His sweetness would still make his the best one.
With each birthday, the birthday boy or girl gets to choose where the family goes for dinner, and Ethan didn’t hesitate to choose Buffalo Wild Wings for his dinner tonight, so the family will all gather there to eat wings and celebrate their little boy, who isn’t so little anymore. Ethan is now almost 5 feet tall. It looks like Ethan will take after his dad and grandpa, Chris Hadlock, both of whom are very tall. Ethan has so much going for him. He is such a good kid…both kind and tender hearted. He is the kind of kid you like to have around. Today is Ethan’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! 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!!
For my grandnephew, Xander Spethman, there is a specific tradition that goes along with his birthday every year. He gathers his friends together for a party. Now, I know that you are thinking, “What’s different about that?” Well, the difference is that they build a fire in his parents fire pit, and the boys burn their schoolwork from the year. Having a birthday so close to the end of the school year, it works out really well to have a school work burning party. This year will be slightly different, in that he will be burning the last year of his middle school career. As a boy, I don’t suppose that fact stirs up the emotions, like it does for his mom, but maybe it brings a bit of sadness that a certain time in his life has come to a close. Nevertheless, this has been a year of lasts. He has played his last middle school football game, and his last middle school basketball game. There will be a last time in the old school, and the last time (for awhile anyway) that he will be in school with his brother, Zack.
Of course, Xander is still very close with his family. He and his dad, Steve are best friends, and he is always so sweet to his mom, Jenny. He and his brothers, Zack and Isaac are also good friends, and his little sister, Aleesia is his little princess. His parents and siblings come to any and all his activities possible. It is a family tradition. Always be supportive of each other. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he and his brothers don’t fight, or that his sister never gets on his nerves, but Xander takes being the oldest very seriously. He works hard to be a leader and a good role model. And he does a good job of it too. His younger siblings look up to their brother and view him with a sense of pride. He shows them the right way to do things. Kids look up to their older siblings, and it is very important to make sure they are getting the right message from their older sibling, or they can end up in a lot of trouble down the road.
While this year is a year of lasts for Xander, it is also a year of firsts. This will be Xander’s first year of high school, Its a major change in a student’s life. Before long graduation will be right around the corner. This year has found Xander with a girlfriend, and to my knowledge, that is his first. He has signed up for ROTC, and I know he will do well with that, specially in the area of shooting accuracy, since Xander has been trained to be a great shot by his parents. Probably the biggest new thing in Xander’s life, however, will e the fact that since he is now 15 years old, he will be getting his driver’s permit, so he can learn to drive. of course, his parents are excited to him to learn to drive, but they will also need to realize that they will most likely be relegated to the passenger side of the car…at least when Xander is in the car, because as we all know, 15 year olds need to drive!! There are a lot of changes coming his way, and we are so excited to see where life takes him next. Today is Xander’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!