mini me

My grand-nephew, Keifer Balcerzak has been in our family since his dad, Dave married my niece, Chantel in 2002. In that time I have watched him grow from young teenaged boy of 14 years, to a great husband and father. In 2015, Keifer married his long-time girlfriend, Katie, and then just before Christmas of 2017, Keifer and Katie welcomed their daughter, Reece, who arrived far earlier than she was supposed to and gave everyone a scare…especially her parents. With Reece’s arrival, everything changed for Keifer and Katie. Yes, babies change things, but having a baby that must also fight for her life is something that most of us don’t go through, and if you weren’t grown up before that time, you definitely grew up then. Watching your child struggle to grow and catch up to where she should have been when she was born is very hard. Keifer and Katie learned to lean on and depend on each other. They showed what they were made of. There strength was amazing to watch. Today, their family is intact. Reece is a growing and soon-to-be two year old girl.

Keifer has always been Dave’s mini-me, although he is no longer shorter than his dad. Nevertheless, in personality, looks, and pretty much every other way, Keifer and his dad are two of a kind. They are both very strong family men. They love their families with their whole being. When these two commit to something, they stay committed. They are very loyal to family and friends, and they have a giving heart. They are also good friends, a perk that comes later in life when the parenting skills were strong and in place. It is the reward for good parenting. I know that Keifer and Katie will have the same reward when their daughter and their future children grow up. Of course, the greatest parenting skill is love, and they have that, for sure.

Keifer inherited his dad’s talent with tech stuff too. They both have the ability to fix and program just about anything technical. Computers are their forte, and they know them inside and out. They can build them or fix them. They both have kind hearts that lead them to help others whenever they are able. The qualities that Keifer and his dad have endear them to those around them. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Addi & MeadowAddi, Hazel, and MeadowConnecting with cousins in the town of my birth has been such a great experience. Some we have met in person, and others we only know through Facebook. I suppose that to many people that might seem like not really knowing them at all, but they would be wrong. I’m sure that often it’s harder to get to know cousins who are separated by so many miles, but my cousin Elizabeth Schumacher Nordquist has made it so easy to get to know her and her family, that I feel like I have known her family for years. Elizabeth is a photographer, and that shows in the pictures she takes of her family, and her niece and nephew. But, with Elizabeth, there is more. She tells of the personalities of her kids too. I feel like I know the girls, even though we haven’t met.

Both of the Nordquist girls, Addilayde and Meadow are just as sweet as they can be. Their mother homeschools Hoseathe girls, and so often babysits her sister, Angel Pallas’ daughter, Hazel, and her sister Grace Oltman’s son, Hosea. Addi and Meadow are great little babysitters in their own right. They love their cousins, and are quick to help their mama with all the details of the babies’ needs. Of course, the biggest need the babies have is to play, so that is what the girls do best, and it’s the part the babies like best too. I’m sure that Elizabeth has to fight for time spent with the babies.

The girls have very different personalities, as I said. While Addi is very much a Girly Girl, and is not interested in the tomboy things, Meadow is very much her Daddy’s girl. She loves to help him with the things he is doing, and doesn’t mind getting dirty. She loves to see the game that her dad brings home from a hunting trip, and doesn’t mind sitting right on its back. Addi doesn’t want to be anywhere near it. Elizabeth says that Addi is her mini-me, and I would have to agree. They look alike, and both have a keen sense of fashion. Not that Meadow Meadow, Hazel, and AddiAron & Meadow Nordquistdoesn’t like her fashions too, because she does…she just loves being where her dad is, and doing the things he likes to do.

One of these days, I hope to meet these sweet little girls, their parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I already love this family. They are very special to me, and I can see that their parents have brought them all up to be very special people. They certainly didn’t fail there. All of these people are very special to me. Every day I look forward to the latest pictures taken by Elizabeth, that give me a little peek into their lives.

So Happygrandpa spencer041_editedMy niece, Andrea Beach has always looked so much like her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed. It was a definite mini me situation. It always strikes me as odd how a set of parents can manage to so closely reproduce themselves in their children. My own daughter, Amy looks a lot like me, but not to the extent that Andrea looks like Caryl. As she has grown, of course, Andrea has taken on more of her own characteristics, and probably looks the least like Caryl that she has at any time in her life. And I guess that is simply the way it goes. We grow up to become our own person, and that applies to our looks as well. I think that even our life experiences can affect our looks, and I don’t mean with gray hair or wrinkles, although I suppose that is possible too. Nevertheless, things like being outdoors a lot, or hairstyle can make us look different than the parent we once look so much like.

Andrea has always loved to cook, and thought about going to culinary school at one point, but that changed when she became the mom of her son, Topher. Now, that is not a bad thing either, because Topher is a great kid, and truly the most important person in Andrea’s life. As our life changes, our priorities change, and for Andrea, there is no greater priority than Topher. They love to goof off together, and especially like taking selfies of all their antics. Of course, you can’t spend your whole life taking selfies, so they also take the time to do homework and play a good game of Tic-Tac-Toe once in a while.

Having Topher has not decreased Andrea’s love of cooking, however. She may not have gone to culinary school, but her skills have not gone unnoticed at her current job at Diamond Lil’s, which is the restaurant at the Day’s Inn in Rawlins, where Andrea lives and works. She has been there just over a year now, and became the Game TimeFunny Facelead cook six months ago. Her cooking is famous in the Rawlins area, and people all over town rave about it. Sometimes, you can’t follow your dream in the way you originally planned to do so, but if you don’t give up, you will find that where there is a will, there is a way. I am often amazed that while our plans didn’t materialize in exactly the same way that we had planned, they can still materialize for us if we keep on keeping on. Today is Andrea’s birthday. I think I need to come to Rawlins to try the food at Diamond Lil’s and Andrea, their fabulous lead cook. Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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