Amanda Kay ReedNot every family member comes into the family by birth or directly by marriage, sometimes they come into a family by way of a blended family. That is the case with my niece, Amanda. She is the daughter of my sister Caryl’s second husband, Mike Reed. Amanda was a blond 16 year old girl just starting into the pre-adult years. She is the same age as my niece, Andrea, who is Caryl’s daughter, so they would now have two 16 year old girls in the household. All I can say to that is…ouch!! All of the emotions of two 16 year old girls would be more than anyone should have to get used to all of a sudden, but that was the situation Caryl and Mike found themselves in, when they combined their two families to make one.

Since my daughters are 11 months apart, I knew what it was going to be like for them. For one month of every year Corrie and Amy are the same age too. The difference is that I was able to move into the horrible teens slowly, and easing into the changes the girls would go through. I can’t imagine doing those years without that prior preparation. The girls got along pretty well…most of the time, and the first year didn’t seem to be too bad. I knew that if they could live through that first year, the rest would be progressively easier, and they were.

Amanda is still the same blond girl, but now, she has a little girl of her own. She is a wonderful mother, who, along with her significant other, Sean has raised a wonderful little girl named Jaydn, who is just as sweet as she can be. We don’t get to see them as much as we would Sean, Jayden, & Amandalike, because they live in Rawlins, but when we do see them, it is always a pleasure.

You never really know how loved ones will come into your life. As circumstances change, so do the people in your life, and while not every blended family works out so well, Caryl and Mike’s did, and we have been very blessed because it did. We have new family members that we would not have had any other way. I feel very blessed to have Amanda as a part of our family, as well as Sean, Jaydn, and of course, Mike too. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Pho1EEAWhen I first became acquainted with my cousin, Betsy’s daughter, Autumn, I immediately liked her. It’s odd I suppose, not to know your cousin’s daughter, or at least not very well, but in big families, that is how it goes sometimes. The family just gets so big that you can really lose touch, even when you all live in the same town. I was trying to connect with all the family members to get information for a book with family information in it so that we could all at least know addresses, phone numbers, family members, and birthdays. It was a monumental effort, and I needed the help of as many family members as I could find.

That was the main reason I connected with everyone on Facebook, but then, something amazing happened. I started getting to know the people in my family…people I had never known before. That was when I met Autumn. A sweet spirit, I could see that she had a heart of gold, and that she was very loyal to those she cared about. Autumn was the type of person who extends the hand of friendship easily…much more easily than I do, because I am a little shy. She has no such problem though, and every time I see her, she is quick to say hello and visit with me, and other family members. What a blessing that is to me.

As one of the older cousins, I suppose I am viewed as being in the same group as the 216206_159049157488915_3173498_naunts and uncles, and to many of the kids, that could mean that I am viewed as boring and outdated, but that is not the way Autumn treats me. She makes a point of saying hello to me and making me feel special. How sweet is that? I think that is just the way she is with everyone, because she just seems to come by it so naturally. When you have made up your mind to treat people great, no matter who they are…young or old…you have created, in yourself, a great person. And, that is the person Autumn is. If you don’t know her…you are missing out!! Today, Autumn is sweet 16!! Autumn, I hope you have the most amazing sweet 16th birthday ever!! Happy birthday Autumn!! We love you!!

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