pre-school

To hear my grand-nephew, Jake Harman talk, his wife Melanie has become “meaner” since their marriage, but of course, I know what a jokester my nephew is, so I know he’s kidding. Melanie is a very sweet girl, who is very loving and kind to Jake and everyone else around her. In fact, I think it is probably Melanie’s kind and patient ways that have made Jake into the man he is today. You see, if either of them has changed, it is Jake…and it is pretty much all because of Melanie. Jake is so happy these days. He feels so blessed with the life he now has. These days Jake has a daughter, Izabella and a son Jaxx, plus a bonus baby Alice, all of whom he loves very much. And it’s all because of Melanie, and the great love she has for Jake and their three children.

Melanie is all about her family. She is a great mom, who is feeling just a little bit sad, as school approaches. It’s not that she hasn’t been through the child in school stage, but now she will have two in school. Alice is going into 2nd grade, and Izabella is going into pre-school. While she will still have Jaxx at home, it just feels like so much is changing…so very fast. It is somewhere around this point that a mother starts getting a little bit sentimental. She’s missing her babies before they are even grown. In her heart, she knows it’s coming…and coming fast.

Melanie’s heart is with her family, but it is also with the Lord. She sings with the worship team at their church, and also helps with the youth ministry, which Jake heads up. Melanie is in charge of the games for the youth. Much is changing at home, but that isn’t the only pace. While Melanie will be missing her girls during the day, she is going to be busy, because she is also going to school…for worship study. She’s already a part of the worship team, and directs the youth singing, and helps Jake with the youth, but her dream is to be the worship leader for the whole church. It’s a lofty goal, but one I think Melanie can accomplish. The biggest part of reaching that goal is having a love for the Lord and for the work He has for you. Today is Melanie’s birthday. Happy birthday Melanie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece, Zoey Iverson is an amazing child. Zoey is just 4 years old, but she has taken on a task that is far beyond her years. Zoey is getting ready to start pre-school in the fall, but she is already a teacher. I’m sure that seems incredible, but it’s the truth. Zoey’s older brother, Lucas, who is 8 years old, was born with Down Syndrome. To Zoey, Lucas is her big brother, and she loves him, and that is all that matters. Zoey knows that her brother is older than she is, and she also knows that he needs help with things. Zoey has assigned herself the task of being his helper and his teacher. That is an amazing feat for a 4 year old girl…and nobody told her to do this!! She just has a loving heart, and wants her brother to have the best chance there is.

Zoey’s current project is helping her brother learn how to talk more and to use the bathroom more. At this point, Zoey and Lucas share a bedroom, so they play together all the time. They love to watch movies, hang out on the bed, look at books, cuddle, and play. They love their room. It is a sanctuary for them…their own space to do kid things. Zoey has been such an integral part of her brothers progress. From helping him learn to walk, to talking, to balance, to playtime, Zoey is very active in her brother’s progress.

Of course, Zoey loves to help her mommy, Cassie too. They do a lot of yardwork together, which Zoey really enjoys. And Zoey is not afraid of snakes in the yard either, although, she makes sure it’s ok to pick it up before she touches it. At snakes…I have to draw the line!! Eeeeewwww!! Zoey loves doing things with her daddy, Chris, like fishing. She also has a kitten that she loves to play with and nurture. She has a very loving, kind heart. Her mom also informs me that…once in a while, Zoey likes to talk back and be a total of four-year-old. I guess that is pretty typical of all kids now and then. Maybe it’s because Zoey is such a mommy type, herself. When she is playing, Zoey likes to dress up in her princess dresses and play a lot of pretend games. Like all little girls, being a princess is paramount in their lives. Today is Zoey’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Cassie Iverson is a mother of 2, a wife, and a photographer. She specializes in Wyoming wilderness photography, and her landscapes are amazing. She has such a great eye for color and interest. Her photos draw you into the scene until you feel like you are standing right there next to her, and isn’t that the mark of a great photographer. Cassie has begun selling her photography at Essence Wyoming Photography on Facebook. Cassie and her husband, Chris love to take their kids, Lucas and Zoey camping on the weekends, and it also gives Cassie lots of inspiration for her photography. Sometimes they just go for photography drives into the country to give Cassie a chance to take more pictures, and to get everyone out of the house and into nature.

While photography is Cassie’s forté, her life is her family. She loves her babies with all her heart, and her husband too, of course. She enjoys cooking for her family, and she is an amazing cook. She is a mom of two busy little kids, and they keep her hopping. Her oldest child, Lucas graduated from preschool a few days ago. It was an amazing accomplishment for Lucas. His journey has not been an easy one, with Down’s Syndrome, but Cassie and Chris have done an amazing job of helping him to reach his full potential. Both of their kids are very sweet.

Cassie and Chris love to go camping, and they love fishing. In reality, they love animals…especially taking pictures of wild animals. They have horses, dogs, and a rare Highlander cat. Now, I didn’t really know why this was a rare cat, so I looked it up. A Highlander cat is a hybrid cat. The Highlander cat is a curl-eared variant of the Desert Lynx breed, crossed with the Jungle Curl to achieve the curled ears. As Desert Lynxes, they are bobtailed or short-tailed, have spotted or marbled markings, and resemble the bobcat, however, they have no actual wild lynx or bobcat ancestry, making them completely domesticated. This cat does get to be about 14 pounds, however. Now that is quite a cat. All in all, Cassie leads a busy life, but it totally fulfills all of her dreams. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

13532869_10206657885913369_359834100990588437_n[1]13606930_10206678903318791_5303133049315182074_n[1]My grand niece, Aurora Hadlock is turning five today. For her, these are exciting days. Aurora, or Rory, as she was nicknamed, is so excited about going to Kindergarten this year. I remember when she started pre-school. If it was possible, I think Rory was the most excited kid ever to start pre-school. That love of learning has never left her either. Rory looks forward to each day, because to her they are brand new…there are new things to learn…new friends to make…and each new day is a new adventure.

Rory, who’s mom, Chelsea Hadlock is very imaginative, has 10676195_10202953479705529_3463465173877702689_n[1]decided to have an Alice in Wonderland birthday this year. Her mom will make it such a fun day. Chelsea is very creative, and has the ability to make her kids’ dreams come true, so their birthdays are always a wonderful event. Rory is growing up so fast. Her mom says she is growing like a wildflower, and I think that is the truth. Rory is very much a girly girl, and she would wear a dress every day if she could. She loves dressing up, and has a lot of fun wearing dresses that are the same as, or very close to her mom’s dresses. Rory wants to look as beautiful as her mommy, and what a wonderful way to show her love for her mom too. Rory is very proud of her mom, and wants to be just like her. Rory has several favorites things, she loves tomatoes…shocking for a little girl, and sweet tea…again rare for a child, and of course, she loves to ride her bike…but then what kid doesn’t.

One thing that I didn’t know about Rory is that she wants to be a doctor. This has been a dream of hers for 11986937_10207241894556588_5179927847889566122_n[1]12002112_10204879110805103_8206092303737254724_n[1]some time. I find it completely amazing that this little five year old girl wants to be a doctor. Girls her age are thinking about being a princess, a mommy, or a ballerina…but never a doctor. I have to wonder what has made her choose this noble profession…and at this young age. I find that little fact about Rory to be especially awesome, because as a caregiver, I know how important doctors are. And just think, with her love of dresses, Rory can be the Princess Doctor. Today is Rory’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Rory!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageMy grand nephew, Lucas Iverson is turning five today. Lucas is a special needs child, who has Down’s Syndrome, but don’t think that a little thing like that slows him down, because it doesn’t. Things are harder for Lucas, but Lucas is a go getter, and the word quit is not in his vocabulary. Lucas is learning to walk, and he walks along the walls and navigates all over the house pretty easily. Of course, there is a motivation for that, because Lucas has a little sister named Zoey, who he absolutely loves, and he follows her all over the house. Zoey is coming up on a year old now, so she is pretty mobile. That is a good thing, IMG_3235because that helps motivate Lucas…not that he needs motivating. Lucas never thinks about whether or not things are hard…much less if he can do it. He just tries to do his very best, and besides that, he’s just having fun anyway.

Lucas is going to pre-school now, and he really enjoys it. He loves people in general, and loves to give everybody hugs and kisses. Lucas especially loves hugging his grandma, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg. Rachel tells me that when he hugs her, he literally melts into her neck. It makes Rachel feel so loved. There really is nothing like having a grandchild like that…one that just loves to hug you and showIMG_3234a how much you mean to them. Lucas is that kind of kid. He is that way with everyone…but his grandma is special, of course.

Lucas loves to go camping and fishing with his family. Sitting around the campfire listening to everyone talk and laugh is so much fun for him. Some things are harder for Lucas to do, and require the help of his parents, but he is so happy just to be out doing things with them, that it doesn’t seem like work to him. Like any kid, doing things with his dad…like fishing is just fun, and really isn’t that what life is all about for a kid…just having fun. Today is Lucas’ birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Steve, Jenny, and Princess LailaPrincess LailaWhen a parent loses a child, of any age, each birthday becomes a time to ponder on what might have been, if the child had lived. For so many parents, there are no answers. Their child is gone, and they have no way to gauge where they would be now or what they would be doing. There is just the emptiness of loss that is left, and wondering what might have been.

No new child can replace another child that has passed, but for my niece Jenny Spethman and her husband Steve, the fact that they had a rainbow baby, who was a girl named Aleesia Juliette, in some ways has helped a little bit. They have been able to envision what their little Laila Elizabeth would have been like at these ages. Of course, as I said, that does not replace Laila, and she is missed every single day, but God gave them Aleesia to cheer their broken hearts, at least a little bit.

Since today would have been Laila Elizabeth’s fifth birthday, they know that like Aleesia, Laila would have been going to pre-school, and learning all the exciting things that there are to see and do in this wonderful world that God created. She would have been a girly girl, like her sister, and they can envision the two of them giggling and laughing as they play their many little girl games. It’s easy to picture them both dancing around the room together, and yet chasing after their big brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, because no little girl can be the little sister of three older brothers and not be a tiny bit tomboy. Laila would have been the princess of the house, just as her little sister, Aleesia is, and of course, she would be the boss of the boys like Aleesia is too, because those boys just think their sister hung the moon.

None of these things make this day, Laila’s 5th birthday an easier day to take, nor with they help with the day she went to Heaven, November 22, but in some ways, they do give a glimpse into what might have been. And if Jenny and Steve are able to use their imagination a little bit, I’m sure they can picture their little Princess Laila and their little Princess Aleesia playing together. They know too, that they will see Laila again when we all join her in Heaven, and I know that they know that her great grandparents, are all getting to know her right now, but the heart doesn’t understand those things any more than the little kids do. Their hearts just want her back, because thinking about what might have been isn’t the same as havimg her here at all, in fact, it is the hardest thing a parent will ever have to do.Jenny's mini meMischievious Princess Aleesia

Today is Princess Laila Elzabeth Spethman’s 5th birthday. She knows we love her, miss her, and can’t wait to see her again, and we know that she is happily playing in Heaven and having a wonderful day. You live in our hearts until we see you again. Happy birthday in Heaven Princess Laila!! Have a wonderful birthday!! We love and miss you very much!! Hugs and kisses baby girl.

swimming in a horse troughMy grand niece, Reagan Parmely arrived the day after her mother, Ashley Parmely’s birthday, three years ago. She was the first grandchild of her grandmother, Jennifer Parmely. The addition of Reagan, and then a year ago, of her little sister, Hattie, have brought new life and lots at activity to the family. She is a busy girl, and she is teaching her little sister the ropes. Together, they keep their parents running. When the rest of your family is adults, the addition of two busy little girls can be a culture shock…even if the parents are active.

Having two daughters of my own, I can relate to the kinds of activity the Parmely family has going on these days. Reagan has had a busy summer, of swimming and playing outdoors. She and her little sister, Hattie have been spending time on the tricycle, with lots of sisterly teamwork used to make the tricycle go. The girls seem to be very good at teamwork, and Hattie is proving to be a power player in their sisterly operations…and between the two of them, there is always something going on. In fact, their mom tells me that about the only thing the girls aren’t into is, you guessed it…sleeping.
The Corn Maze
Reagan recently started pre-school, which will undoubtedly bring about a big change in her. There is no way to go from being a toddler at home with the family, to being a student, without the whole process changing you forever. A toddler quickly transitions into a child. They have seen a whole new world out there that goes beyond their own little corner of it. Suddenly, they discover that there are many children in the world. New playmates await them. Reagan has so much fun ahead of her, and I’m very excited for her. There is so much to learn. Her school career is just starting, and she will learn so much as she goes along. Reagan is such a smart little girl and I know that she will do well as a student. She loves learning new things. I think most kids do.

Back at home, Reagan is the big sister and mommy’s helper once again. Though she loves school, and the many new things she is learning there, she misses her family too. Reagan and her sister, Hattie are best imagefriends. That’s how it is with sisters. Sure, you may fight, but in the end there is no one that means more to a kid, other than their parents, of course. Reagan has so many things to show her little sister. Some of the greatest life lessons are taught by siblings, whether they know it or not. Reagan will play an active role in the person her sister, Hattie becomes. And Hattie will play an active role in the person her sister, Reagan becomes. The girls will be forever friends, because that is the awesomeness of having a sister. That is something I can attest to, coming from a family of sisters. They will grow in to a team as the years go by…Team Parmely!! I think we will see a lot of good things come from this team in the future. Today is Reagan’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

CaalabMy dear grandson, Caalab, today marks the beginning of a completely new life for you. Your graduation is just the first step into that life. You are no longer a child, but a high school graduate. Your hard work has paid off, and all the requirements for graduation have been met. Your public school career is over now, and your future is up to you. That is hard for me to believe, because to me you will always be that little boy who was so quick to smile, and always had some new joke to tell or a new trick to show me. While the joking and trickery continue to this day, the little boy is gone, and before me now stands a man, strong and tall, with a heart of gold. I love the man you have become. You are so caring. You give thought to those around you, and you always try to please others. You think of others long before you think of yourself…a good trait in many ways. Still, I miss that little boy that you were…the one who always had his hand in my hair. I will always have that picture of you in my memory files…twisting my hair or batting it, but never pulling it, because you were always careful not to hurt me.

It is a long road from pre-school to high school graduation, and that makes it extra special. When you started Caalab playing his guitaryour school career, it seemed like it would be a long time before graduation, but in reality, the time slips by so quickly. Now, all those years are behind you, and you are looking toward a whole new life. Your journey is going to take you far away, and that is really hard for me, but I know that this is your dream career. Music has been your life for as long as I can remember, and yet it was a bit of a surprise to hear that you want to build guitars. It shouldn’t have been I suppose. It really was the next logical step, and I know that you will be great at it. Still, you are leaving and you won’t be able to come home for a weekend here and there. The next time I see you, you will be changed in many ways. You will have spent time in a bigger city, and broadened your horizons. Your life journey will be much different than what I had expected, but that is because your dreams are uniquely yours…and no one else’s. You have to follow your heart and live your dreams…you have to be true to yourself, and be who you were born to be. And I know that you will be very successful at it, because you are an amazing young man.

When it comes to my babies, my heart just can’t seem to understand the whole saying goodbye thing, and that makes this so very hard. Nevertheless, I would ever want to hold you back. You will go forward and you will be Caalab Rolles Roycesuccessful at all you do, wherever life takes you. Still, I want you to always remember where you came from. Remember the good moral values you have been taught, and always keep God first place in your life, because it was God who made you and gave you the skills you have. As you go through life, you will come to realize more and more that every skill you have came from Him to make you into the wonderful man you have become. I know that your new life will be filled with excitement and interesting new things, so all I can ask is that you remember to call your grandparents once in a while, because we will miss you very much, so don’t forget the way home. Words cannot fully express just how proud we are of you. We love you so much. Congratulations on your high school graduation, my dear grandson, Caalab. Way to go!!

Amy's Preeschool program 1980Every child who has been in school, has also been in a school play of one type or another. It is very common, especially in Kindergarten to have a class play. All the kids in the class are so excited as the practice session take place, and they can hardly sit still long enough to get through the necessary studies before it is time for play practice. It doesn’t really matter what part each child is to play…at least not in Kindergarten, because they are usually happy with any part. Often there is a line or two for the child to memorize, and when they say their line, they feel like it was a monumental accomplishment, and really, it was, because they have never done anything quite like that before.

I remember my Kindergarten play vividly…or should I say one part of it. I have no idea what the play was about, nor the part I played in it, but I vividly remember that when the teacher said it was time to line up for practice, I was running to be first in line. I made it too, several times, but it didn’t matter. The teacher always made me move back in the line to about the midway point. I never could figure that out. It seemed very unfair to me that even though I got there first, I was not allowed to keep my place in line. Thankfully the teacher was quite patient, because she had to tell me to move back to that same midway point every day. I suppose that if she had explained to me that there was a certain order that we had to line up in, I might have understood, but she never said that. She simply moved me back. The whole thing really wasn’t my fault either, because after all, when you lined up for anything else, it was first come first in line. So how was I supposed to know that this was different. All I knew was that I wanted to be first in line and the teacher wouldn’t let me. Thankfully, I just did as I was told, and didn’t cry. Now that would have been humiliating!! I don’t know if my teacher understood why she had to tell me over and over to move further back, or if she just thought I was a little ditsy, but she never got mad at me, and remained a favorite teacher throughout the years.Amy's Kindergarten program 1981

I never heard that my girls had such a problem with their pre-school and kindergarten plays, so maybe it was just me being a little ditsy, I don’t really know. What I do know is that I think I prefer being on the audience side of school plays far more than I did as an actress. I guess that means I’ll never be famous, or at least not a famous actress, but I can live with that. Through the years, I have enjoyed watching everything from plays to concerts at the schools…at least as long as they included my daughters or my grandchildren, that is.

I was talking to my niece, Chelsea after church the other day, and she mentioned that on the previous Sunday, when her daughter, Aurora simply would not settle down, she took her back to the nursery to play. That went ok, and the next week, they asked Chelsea to bring her back again. When she did, Aurora was so excited that she practically jumped out of her mother’s arms to get into the room. Chelsea said she just about cried.

I was reminded of Amy, when she went to pre-school. She was so ready…just like Aurora. Being the second child, Aurora has watched her brother get to go and play with the neighbor kids, and other assorted cousins, while she is stuck in her mother’s arms, a highchair, stroller, or other such item of…confinement. Like most children with older siblings, this matter frustrates Aurora, and there seems to be no solution…just a life of total unfairness, in which she wonders if she will ever be big!!

So, when she finally found a place where she could go and play with the other kids, and nobody says she can’t, she was delighted. Maybe there was hope for a good life after all!! Aurora was taking no chances. Chelsea brought her back to the nursery, and she knew that Mommy was going to leave and let her stay…just like the big kids get to do. Aurora was the most excited little girl in the world.

So, as soon as she got there, she was off…hoping that her Mommy wouldn’t make her leave just yet. Chelsea, on the other hand, got to stand there feeling just a little bit lonely. Her baby was growing up so quickly. I’m quite sure she was feeling just like I did that day so long ago now…like her baby was going to be all grown up and off on her own, before she hardly had time to blink, and she didn’t like that feeling one little bit.

Children grow up so fast, and once they are grown, we look back on those past years, and wish we could go back somehow, or stop time all together. Unfortunately, time simply will not be stopped. It passes without concern for our feelings. Today is our Independent Aurora’s first birthday. Happy birthday precious baby girl!! We love you so much!! Don’t grow up too quickly, ok!!

 

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