pool

My little grand-niece, Mackenzie Moore is a loyal football fan…of her daddy’s teams. It doesn’t matter what team it is, as long as her daddy, Shannon Moore is one of the coaches. Currently, Mackenzie is a huge fan of the Wyoming Cowboys. As her daddy says, she loves the Pokes. Mackenzie always has her game face on at the games, and she cheers on her daddy’s team faithfully. In fact, at two years old, Mackenzie is quite likely the littlest Pokes fan. This little girl is such a loyal fan that she even makes sure she is bringing her baby up to be a fan. I guess she is getting set for the next generation of fans.

Mackenzie has an amazing personality. She always keeps her parents, Lindsay and Shannon, laughing and quite entertained. Nobody ever has to tell this little girl to smile, because its just a part of her nature. Mackenzie loves people and loves making them smile, and it comes so naturally to her. She makes the greatest faces ever. One look and you can’t help but love this little girl…or laugh along with this little cutie. She love playing with her cousins the most, and considers “cousin-time” to be the very best time of all…well, except for mommy and daddy time.

The summer was a great one for Mackenzie, who got to travel some, spend time with her grandparents, and of course hang out with her mommy by the pool. Mackenzie loves her time as a lady of leisure too. That’s a good thing, because before we know it, she will be going to school. Time goes so fast. I really can’t believe that Mackenzie is two years old already. It seems like it was just yesterday that she was born. With all the wonderful life moments this little girl packs into every day, I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. Of course, I wish that we, the rest of her family, got to see her a little more, but now that her family lives in Wyoming again, we get to see her more than we did before, when they lived back east. That makes us happy. We are all happy about the move back to Wyoming. Today is Mackenzie’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband’s aunt, Esther Hein lives in Oregon, and it’s not always easy for her to get back home to Forsyth, Montana to visit her brothers, Eddie and Butch Hein, who live there with their families. Last January she made the trip, and once she was there, she might have found herself wondering if January was the best time to have done that. Montana gets quite a bit of snow, and last January was no exception. They got a large amount of snow, and Esther found herself shoveling the sidewalks and not really getting anywhere with removing all the snow.  In the end, they spent a lot of time indoors, but it was a very nice visit anyway.

Things got a little tough for Esther this past fall, when he got Shingles. If you have never dealt with Shingles, or had them yourself, you have no idea how bad they really are. my husband had them in February of 2013, and they were awful.They itch and burn at the same time. They leave scars that never seem to completely go away. Some people get physically ill, and unfortunately, Esther was one of those. She was really sick for a while, and that can take a long time to come back from.  I’m sure she was weak for a while.

As winter approached, Esther began to feel better, and was able to go on the family’s annual trip to the Diamond Lake Resort to go snow shoeing. I’m sure that with how she had been feeling, she wasn’t sure she would feel up to going this year, but I’m glad she did. Esther likes to stay in good shape. It is important for all of us. She has taken up water exercise. There is an aquatic open pool near her home and she has been going there three times a week to do open end exercises. Esther loves going, and says that she feels so much better these days.

Esther has long been a crafty person, and she has plans  to make some quilts this next year. When you don’t feel well, you can’t do justice to your hobbies. Esther is an artist,and in the past has don’t quite a bit of painting. I’m just thankful that her hobbies have not had to be laid aside. Today is Esther’s 78th birthday. Happy birthday Esther!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Zack Spethman is a great kid, but he is quickly growing up and is hardly a kid anymore. Today he became a teenager, and is just about to finish his first year of middle school. That put him back at the same school and his brother and good friend, Xander. The share many activities, likes and dislikes, and their similar personalities. Football is the sport above all sports for them. They love to watch and play. It is a family tradition. The three Spethman brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac rising up through the ranks of school football. It keeps their parents busy with all the games.

Of course, football isn’t everything in their lives. Zack loves to climb mountains, play pool, and shoot guns…everything from air guns, to paintball guns, to real guns. He is a good shot and goes to practice with his family often, but he also knows about gun safety, and has passed the hunter safety course, so he can go hunting. Still, while hunting is a great adventure, the boys love combat competitions. They love to strategize the ways to dominate and “take out” the other team. Zack and Xander tend to pool their strategic resources to obtain the victory.

Zack’s dad, Steve Spethman decided to remodel the family kitchen earlier this year, and the boys got to learn about construction by helping their dad do the work. They were very attentive and meticulous about the work, and they learned a lot about the construction business. Their dad is a great carpenter, and a great teacher, so they learned from the best. They often work with their dad, and he is teaching them the value of hard work. Their parents have also taught the kids to be responsible for each other and for their little sister, and this is a job Zack takes seriously. He can often be seen encouraging his siblings and assisting his little sister, Aleesia. They are all very close.

Zack is such a sweet, kind young man, and we are all proud of him. He is loyal and loving to his family, and helpful to all in need. He is always there to give a hug or a word of encouragement. He is a good student, and is responsible. When he says he will be somewhere, he is. That was never more clear that when he was given an award for the best attendance in football last year. With his winning attitude and awesome personality, I know Zach will go far. He is a blessing to those who know him. Today is Zack’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageWhen I picked my grandson, Josh up from Kelly Walsh High School the other day, we drove past the area where they are tearing up the old teacher’s parking lot for the school renovation project that is going on in several schools around town. Josh said, “When I look at that, it makes me sad?” He hated seeing the school he had known change. I found that a little surprising, in that this is Josh’s first year at Kelly Walsh, but when I thought about the fact that Josh’s older brother Chris has gone there for 3 years, it made sense that he would think of this school as a place he knew well. We continued down 12th Street, and past the swimming pool and he mentioned the building that was the entrance to the pool, and it really hit me.

Kelly Walsh High School has been a part of my life since I was a kid. It first opened in 1965, when I was just 9 years old. It wasn’t long after that that my sisters and I began going to Kelly Walsh High School to go swimming, almost every weekday in the summer. We walked past Pineview School to 8th Street, turned on Sally Lane, crossed the foot bridge to Forest Drive, went up to 12th Street and up to Kelly Walsh pool. It was so much fun to go swimming there every summer, and now the building is gone and the pool will follow. All those years of that pool being such a huge part of my summer…and now it will be gone.
image
So many changes are about to occur to the school where I spent my high school years. When the work is done, I don’t know if I will even recognize it. After my graduation, my sisters attended there, and then my older sister’s older children, and then when my girls started high school it was at Kelly Walsh, and once again I spent time there. Now, two of my grandsons are there and I am spending time there again. Kelly Walsh High School will always be a part of my life it seems, but it will not always be the school it was. I know it will be a better school when they are done, and I know it is a necessary change, but it still makes me sad too.

Angry Jennifer age 3There are few things that spell summer better for little kids than water…whether it is a wading pool, the local swimming pool, the lake, water pistols, or running through the sprinkler. Kids just love the hot days, so they can get wet to cool off. Lots of adults feel the same way too, as a matter of fact. It’s just what summer is all about.

While watching some old home movies the other night, I saw Bob and his sisters Debbie, and Jennifer running through the sprinkler. Jennifer was just a little girl of about 3 years, and I’m pretty sure it was her first experience at running through the sprinkler. She was obviously enjoying herself, but that doesn’t mean the water felt like what she expected either. As she started into the water, she skirted the edges of it at first, almost as if trying not to get wet. I know that feeling. It happens when you get caught in a rain shower. Even though it is hot outside, and the rain has a cooling effect, it still has the ability to almost feel like needles hitting your skin…ok, dull needles that don’t hurt, but still each one creates a little shock. That is how Jennifer seemed to be feeling.

That first time feeling of running through the sprinkler is a one time event. Once you know what to expect, you never get to feel that way again. That doesn’t make running through the sprinkler any less fun, just not so surprisingly shocking ever again. Knowledge comes with experience, and once we know something, we know it forever. There is no way to go back to that innocense and be surprised by it again. I’m sure that the next time the kids ran through the sprinkler, Jennifer didn’t skirt the edge like she did before.
Soaking Chris
I am reminded of a picture I have of my oldest grandson running through the sprinkler, and I’m thinking how cute he looked. Christopher was clearly ducking his head to the side to avoid the water that was hitting him…and yet he liked the whole feeling, of coolness on a hot day. Even with the wading pool and other backyard pools that are available, kids have loved to run throught the sprinkler since they were invented. And, I can relate to that. Once you have tried it, you will like it. Even as an adult, it isn’t the end of the world to have to run through the sprinkler to get into the house. I mean, after all, clothes dry, but the fun of running through the sprinkler will stick with you for a long time.

 

Chris in VegasWhat makes a hero? Is it untold bravery in the face of certain death, or is it simply being in the right place at the right time? Yesterday, my grandson, Chris found himself in just such a position. A position that would put Chris between a classmate and death. Chris was in his swimming class, and they were practicing life saving maneuvers. They had brought in another physical education class to help with their life saving class. The students had been told that there was going to be a mock drowning situation and they were going to perform the rescue, and in a perfect world, that is how the exercise would have proceeded. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

The students were all in the water, and Chris noticed a young man who seemed tired and was not swimming very fast. He watched him for a moment, and then his attention was drawn elsewhere. Suddenly someone yelled out in panic from the side of the pool. Chris turned and saw that the young man was under the water and thrashing about. He immediately went into action, performing the maneuvers he had been taught as if on auto-pilot. He brought the young man to the pool’s edge, coughing and sputtering, but alive, and unharmed. We asked Chris what everyone had said afterward, expecting to give him a moment to bask in the glory and admiration that surely followed his heroic act, but in true Chris style, he pretty much blew it off with a simple and humble, “They said good job.” Typical of a hero to act like they didn’t do anything special, when we all know they did.

When Chris told us about the events that transpired at school, I was taken back to my youth. We went swimming every weekday at the Kelly Walsh pool in Casper. I had been going up there for several years, and I had finally reached the great height of 5 feet. To me that meant that I could go into the deep end of the pool, and I went and jumped in, and not right at the edge. When the realization hit me that the water was also 5 feet, putting it at the top of my head, I was already in trouble. As I thrashed around trying to find the edge, I thought I was going to die. Then I came up out of the water gasping for air and saw a girl swimming by. I coughed out the word “help” and she pushed me to the edge of the pool, and once I was there, she simply went on her way. To this day, I can see her face, even though I don’t know her name and could not thank her. I went back to the shallow water…grateful to be alive, and taught myself to swim, because I was never going to be in that position again. Still I would never forget the girl who saved my life.

As I thought about my grandson, who found himself in a position to be that person who saved the life of another person, I knew that he is a true hero. I knew exactly how the young man Chris saved will feel about that event for the rest of his life. It is very hard to forget the face of the person who saw you in a death struggle, and then reached in and pulled you out of death’s grip to safety again. What makes a hero? I know, and I think that young man in Chris’ swimming class yesterday knows too.

Learning the ropesDown timeWeston is the oldest grandchild of my sister-in-law Debbie and my brother-in-law Lynn. They had 3 daughters and no sons. So, like Bob and I, a grandson was a bit of a culture shock. Boys are, when you only had girls, and it doesn’t matter how tomboyish your girls might have been. Still, having boys can be a change of pace that you didn’t expect. When you have girls, the dad doesn’t usually have that mechanic’s assistant, or that handyman’s assistant, or a landscaper’s assistant…you know the son that mows the lawn for you. The nice thing about getting that boy in the grandchild pool then, is that suddenly you have that little man to help you with all those things that your girls didn’t ever want to help with.

Like most grandfathers of grandsons, Lynn was ready to train his little helper…just as soon as he could grow up to some size, that is. Finally, that day arrived. Weston was ready to start being the helper that his grandpa had waited for. Soon Weston was out in the back yard, learning the ropes on how to mow the lawn. Now he would be able to make some extra money mowing lawns for people around town, and maybe even make a few bucks for mowing his grandpa’s lawn. It’s good training for a smart boy who has plans for an income in the future.

Of course, Weston, like all kids needs some down time. That’s when he heads to the local boys and girls club for a little goofiness. There is nothing quite like trying to take something out of a bowl with your mouth, while your hands are behind your back. Now I was never very good at that, and I’m not sure how Weston did at it either, but my guess is that Weston probably liked one of the other activities more than that. The good old pie throwing contest, or rather that throwing, it would be the pie in the face contest, which I think is something we would all secretly love to do. That shocked look on the face of your victim is just classic. And the rest of the kids probably saw something else of value in Weston. Because of his size, Weston would Pie in the faceTug of Warbe the first choice we getting a tug-of-war together. The other team would have little chance of winning, even if they were given an extra person or two. So I guess you could say Weston has really learned the ropes there.

Today is Weston’s 13th birthday!! Look out Machelle and Steve, your trouble is just starting, because Weston is a teenager!! Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With summer comes the need to keep cool. Kids have the unique ability to set aside things like concern over wet clothes or ruined makeup. They simply don’t care about those things. If given the chance, they will run through the sprinkler, clothes or bathing suit…it just doesn’t matter. And, who needs to ask for permission every time? Just tell mom that you were walking by and simply got wet…yeah, right!

Why is it that something that brought such pleasure as kids, seems to be something that we cringe at as adults. Just getting caught in a sprinkler or rain storm as an adult sends us running for cover, but as kids we relished the chance to do the exact same thing. And, as adults when we get caught in that situation, it doesn’t matter how hot we are, that water feels so extremely cold! What has changed? We are the same person…only older! I don’t get it.

As kids, all we can think about is finding a way to get out of the heat. Even end of school picnics can incorporate a type of sprinkler. How do you cool down an entire class of kids at the same time? You call in the fire trucks, of course. Now I wouldn’t want to be hit by a fire hose head on, because it would seriously hurt!! But, you spray that same hose into the air, and it becomes some of the coolest “rain” you ever saw. It becomes just like a downpour!! What better way to soak an entire class of kids!!

And of course, there is still the more conventional way of cooling off…the back yard pool, or as it is with little kids, the wading pool. It is in the wading pool that many kids find that you don’t need the water to be deep necessarily, just cold. Add a few toys, and you have an afternoon of cool fun.

Yes, kids get to have all the fun…without all the inhibitions. Looking back on those years when my sisters and I were running through the sprinkler, I can remember what it was like to be a kid. Sometimes, I wish those days weren’t in the past, but then I look at what I have now, and I realize that I probably wouldn’t want to go back there…even for the fun of running through the sprinkler without worrying about my makeup.

For as long as I can remember, going to my grandmother’s house brought the smell of potato milk soup or oyster stew. Now, don’t get me wrong, my grandmother made other foods, and was an excellent cook, so maybe that is just the memory that makes me think of her. I was never very fond of oyster stew as a child, although I like it now, but potato milk soup was always a yummy favorite. Grandma always had the oyster crackers too, and I thought those were always fun. Grandma’s kitchen was always full of great smells and plenty of food.

Grandma loved having her family come for visits. The more the merrier. And all of her grandkids would have to agree with that. We always had a great time playing at grandma’s house. She had a huge back bedroom where her kids had slept, and while I always that it was scary at night, it was a great place to play. It had lots of room and plenty of beds when it was time to put the babies down for their naps. Playing house back there was always great fun, and since my grandparents had 9 kids, there were always plenty of cousins to play house with.

I think my grandmother must have been a Popsicle person like me, because her house was warm. I was always cold, so it was nice to go to grandma’s house, because it was always warm and cozy. As a kid, it seemed like I could never get warm enough…except at grandma’s house. I suppose many people wouldn’t think that was much of a memory, but to me, it was a great memory. It never seemed to matter how warm it was in the house, I still wanted to snuggle up in a warm blanket, but at grandma’s house, I never had to get a blanket…Grandma understood.

When my grandparents moved from their old home to the new one on 3rd Street, I remember playing in the basement. It was a great place for a haunted house when we were kids, and the pool table in the rec room was a definite plus…if you could get a chance to play. It was definitely a first come first served basis, and the older the kids were, the quicker they got there, and somehow it always seemed to me that the boys got there quicker than the girls.

I didn’t really matter what we were doing when it came to going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we always had a good time. Whether we were playing in one of the many rooms in her house, or playing hide-and-seek outside, it was always fun…mostly I suppose because we were at Grandma’s house.

On February 28th, my oldest grandson, Chris turned 16. It was an epic day in his life. He got his driver’s license, and got to start driving his own car to school, as well as picking up his brother, which they both think is cool. With that license will come driving himself to and from work, and other errands for himself and his parents. It is a great time in a kid’s life…usually.

And it was for Chris too…until today. Chris was in his swimming class today. His swimming teacher wants the kids to warm up before getting into the pool, and so they run relay’s on the wrestling mats that are in between the pool and the bleachers. The mats are there to keep the kids from slipping and spraining an ankle. In theory this might work, but Chris caught his toe on the mat, bending it over, under the rest of his foot, and fell.

Chris figured he had broken his toe, and that there wasn’t much to be done with it. So, he went through the rest of the school day, Wendy’s for lunch, picked up his brother, Josh, and then to work to get his check. The he decided to stop and show it to his grandma…me. We talked about it a bit, and in looking at it, I felt like it might be more than a broken toe, and called his mom, my daughter, Corrie.

Chris was very concerned about going to Urgent Care, because if they had to cast his foot, he might not be able to take his driving final for Driver’s Ed. That would mean a completely wasted quarter, because he would fail Driver’s Ed. That would also mean that he would not get the discounts that go with having completed the course. I tried to reassure him that perhaps they could wrap his foot today and cast it after his driving class, but he still left my office a little worried…both about his final, and his job at Johnny J’s Diner.

Corrie and Kevin, left work immediately and took Chris to Urgent Care. They took 3 x-rays and determined that he had broken the bone that connects his toe to the upper part of his foot. He basically tried to rip his toe off and that caused a half circle break. That was the bad news. The good news is that at least for tonight, he was given a boot cast, which can be taken off for his driving final…whew!! The rest of the good news is that he was cleared to work, since his job doesn’t require heavy use of his foot. That was a big relief to both Chris and his manager.

Chris will still have to go see an Orthopedic doctor, but the news looks pretty good. Chris will have to adapt his driving a little, but I’m sure he can manage that. He is pretty good at adapting to the the changes in his life. In fact, his dad, Kevin took him out in his car tonight to see how it would go, and he did very well. He will still take off the boot for the driving final, but he is going to do ok. Chris is very motivated, because he is one of the top two kids in the class and he doesn’t want to lose his standing. I know he will come out on top of this situation, but all I can say is…what a way to start sixteen.

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