imageI have always loved cats. I like dogs too, but for the most part, I like cats better. I love to watch them play, and love it when they want to cuddle and purr. Maybe it’s because we had some cats when I was very young, but then we had the one dog I can say I truly loved too, King. For the most part, dogs annoy me a little bit, I guess. They are always sniffing and licking you. Cats, on the other hand, might lick you once in a while, if you have something tasty on your hand, but for the most part, they want you to be their slave. You are to pet them, or they will stick their head under your hand so that you are reminded of your job. They are unashamed concerning their plan too. If you have the nerve to leave them alone for longer than they think you should, then you will be subjected to the cold shoulder. How long depends on how quickly you begin to make amends, but know this, they plan to hold out a while.

Most cats feel like their owner is not really their owner, in fact, cats are sure they are the owner. I know that’s Mom & Lewiehow both of my mom’s cats felt about her. Every time we took Mom out of town, they would practically ignore her upon her return. Nevertheless, whenever Mom needed them to be there…they were, whether her little knights in shining armor could do anything to help her or not. They were able to stay right there beside her, with a look of concern, until help arrived. Even though the cats couldn’t do anything for her, her loyal cats stayed by her side, because whether she was the owner or the cat was the owner, her cats loved her very much. I know that dogs have been known to do the same things, but I just found it so sweet that her cats tried so hard to be her super hero.

Maybe that is the reason why I love cats so much. Their cuddly, purring ways, and their need to be with their human, even if it is just to make their human pet them, That may be a bit selfish on the cat’s part, but it is loving too. Cats have, not only the ability crave love, but they are also capable of giving love. The cats my girls had when they were little put up with so much. Our daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, were little and scan0031rough, but the cats never scratched them intentionally, because they loved them. All they wanted was to be near the girls.

That’s how one of our cats was with me, when I was a little girl. I know that I was probably not a perfect human for our cats, but it didn’t matter. The cat wanted to be with me. It didn’t matter what I was doing, the cat adapted. And I’m quite certain that I felt the exact same as the cat did. I’m not sure how often my cat slept in my crib, but my guess is that it was more than once. It was such a sweet gesture. I expect that it happened often, because, my parents thought it was sweet enough to capture on film. And…I am glad they did.

Sleepy CaalabChristopher - eating is a lot of workKids seem to be able to go to sleep in just about any position. I suppose adults can do that too, but it seems to be the kids who do it most often. And the thing that is most amazing is that the kids don’t seem to wake up with a neck ache or a backache or any thing else. If we sleep in those awkward positions, as adults, it seems like before long we are awakened by the crick in our neck or back that is screaming at us to, “for Pete’s sake…lay down!!” Not so babies. Whatever they are doing, when they get tired, like my grandson Caalab Royce or my niece, Toni Chase sleeping in their swing, my grandson Christopher Petersen or my daughter, Corrie Petersen sleeping in their highchairs in the middle of a meal, they simply close their eyes and it’s lights out!! It doesn’t matter if their meal is over or just beginning, if they are worn out from all the work of eating, they just give up and go to sleep. And we all know that a baby swing is the world’s best babysitter.

As parents or grandparents, we now have a decision to make. Should we take them out of the high chair, wash their face and hands, and put them to bed…risking the possibility that they will wake up and not want to go Koolaide FaceEating is hard workback to sleep? Now every parent knows that if you do that and they do wake up, your quiet time is over. That precious time only occurs when the little ones go down for a nap or to bed for the night. Disturbing that plan is not a great idea. And really, their little face can be washed later. It’s not like the food will stain anything…unless your child is my daughter, Amy Royce, who could give herself a Kool-Aid mustache that was really hard to remove…but then, that came after the nap, while she was glaring at me in her post-nap grouchy face…the one that made me decide that giving that happy little pre-nap girl her daily nap, was not worth the grouchy girl post-nap headache I got. Parents also have to weigh the pros and cons of the possibly grouchy baby who got a crick in their neck from sleeping in such weird positions in their swing, with the possibility of a grouchy baby who wouldn’t go to sleep after you repositioned them.

In the end, most parents opted to let the child sleep in whatever weird position they landed in…even if it was standing up. How does a child fall asleep standing up anyway?? I suppose it was a matter of having something to lean on that would support their weight, but why wouldn’t their little legs buckle in their sleep. I suppose my Dad and Ryan sleepingcheryl385nephew, Ryan Hadlock came by that ability honestly, since my Uncle Bill Spencer, tells me that his little brother, my dad and Ryan’s grandpa, Allen Spencer fell asleep standing on a wood pile one time. In reality, when the need for sleep arises, we go to sleep, be it watching television, eating, sitting in a baby swing, in school, or oops…sometimes even at work. Our bodies have a mind of their own, when it comes to needing their rest, and if we don’t answer the call and go to bed, our bodies will just take matters into their own hands…and we will just have to deal with the consequences.

Sleepy AllynWhen my sisters and I were kids, our parents had a movie camera, a projector, and a movie screen. They took a lot of home movies. It was as common then as it is now, but the technology has changed dramatically. Still, I don’t think that the home movies we have today are enjoyed in quite the same way as they were back then. When you have to set up a projector and screen, and then put them away afterward, watching home movies is a big production, and one that doesn’t happen often. It becomes a special occasion that kids will fight to stay awake for. These days, it is often one person watching on a computer screen or a television, and there just isn’t the same crowd to laugh at all the funny things.

That was exactly how it was in our family. When we talked Mom and Dad into watching home movies, we wanted to stay up and watch as many as we could in one night. Asking to watch “just one more” was not unheard of. For our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock, staying up was a little more difficult than for the rest of us. Nevertheless, on one night in particular, she insisted that she could stay awake for the movie. Mom and Dad put the movie on the projector, and we started watching it. It wasn’t long before Allyn began to doze off. Dad tried to keep her awake, but it was no use. She was just too tired. Before long, Allyn was sound asleep. The movie was just too long. Of course, we all knew that Allyn was sleeping, and in a way it was funny, because she didn’t lay her head down or anything, but rather looked like she was watching the movie.

I’m not sure how much of the movie Allyn missed, but even when it was over, she did not wake up. We turned Startled Allynon the lights, but she didn’t move. Finally, it was time to wake her up, and when we did, she was quite startled. Someone was right there with the camera to record the humorous moment, and I must say that I’m glad they were. Kids do such silly stuff sometimes, and so often we forget to record the silliness. Later on, all we have is the story of the funny event, but nothing to really show how it happened, but in this case, we had the ammunition to tease Allyn for years to come. It is almost all the ammunition we have on her, becaue she never got into trouble..just ask us, we’ll tell you. Sometimes it is the goofy things we do as kids that are the most embarrassing. So, here’s to embarrassing moments. It is impossible to go through life without them, and Allyn just think, at least you didn’t fall asleep in school…that we know of.

Mountain ManPeople joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join Campthem, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.

Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Debbie & LynnCasper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.

Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Little FamilyWhen my nephew, Eric was a baby, Amy, my daughter babysat for his parents quite a lot. Because Eric’s mom, my sister-in-law, Jennifer is a nurse, she worked shiftwork, so often Amy would stay the night, and then on Sunday mornings, Eric, and his older brother, JD would come to church with us. Eric was such a cuddly baby, and since I didn’t get to hold him as often as Amy, I would usually let Amy keep JD entertained, so he would play quietly under her watchful eye, and I would hold Eric. As I said, Eric was a cuddly baby, and he would simply snuggle up in my arms and go right to sleep. It had been a long time since my girls were little, so holding a baby for an hour while he slept was something I hadn’t had the privilege of doing for a while, and it was really a Funny facestreat every week. It became, another reason to look forward to Sunday mornings.

When Amy became old enough to have a job, her babysitting days ended. Jennifer started working more day shifts, and my sister-in-law, Brenda stayed with the boys whenever Jennifer worked nights, just as she had when Amy was too young to stay at the house alone. I saw less and less of Eric and JD. It’s a natural change, and one that I found a bit sad. Babies just don’t stay babies long enough…a fact that Eric is learning for himself now. Eric is a grown man now, married, daddy to his little girl, Reagan, and he is going to be a daddy again in September. I’m sure he, like every other parent in history, just can’t believe how quickly his little girl is growing up. By the time his second child arrives, Reagan - 11 months oldReagan will be almost two years old. I’m sure that is unbelievable to Eric and his wife, Ashley.

For the last year or so, they have been remodeling the home that they bought as a fixer upper, and it is looking beautiful. Before long, they will be decorating the new nursery for baby number two. It’s a good thing that they are already in remodel mode, because this is just another step in a their plan, and they will take it in stride just like they did with Reagan, and in September, they will be a family of four. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

CampingMany people can’t wait for summer, so they can go camping. As kids, my sisters and I loved it. It didn’t matter if we were sleeping in a camper or on the ground, as long as Dad was willing to put another log on the fire to keep the bears away…which is what we thought would work…and it probably did no good, but we were girls…what did we know.  All we cared about was that we were traveling and had no school, and we got to see new places and do fun new things. Of course, one of the things we always liked was the campfire at  night. The smell of the burning wood, roasting marshmallows, looking at the stars, and just enjoying the warmth radiating from the fire, made the evening so fun and relaxing. Those were times we enjoyed so much, and times that I miss sometimes. Around the campfireIt’s funny, because I’m not much of a camper these days, although I love to go hiking. It’s just that at night, I kind of like a nice soft bed and a room without bugs and cold air. I do still love to sit around the fire though.

Kids, especially love to be around the campfire. They want to add wood to it, stir it and everything that they are so sure is important to having a campfire. I love to watch little kids around the campfire, they just get so excited…but then which one of us isn’t a kid at heart when it comes to campfires. These days you can even buy a little fire pit to have in the back yard, so your can enjoy those fires whenever you feel like it. It’s not exactly like camping, but it gives you a little bit of that feel…or whets your appetite for summer…or at least summertime things.
Camping in Ethan's bedroom
Sleeping in a sleeping bag these days isn’t my favorite thing to do, but then it does remind most people of camping out. Some people love it so much that they can’t wait for summer to go camping. It is a matter of have sleeping bag, will camp. For those people, and my grand nephew, Ethan and grand niece, Aurora certainly qualify in this category, it simply doesn’t matter where you camp out. The campground, the back yard, or even Ethan’s bedroom will do, as long as you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, and not in your bed. I don’t know how much sleep Ethan and Aurora got on this little camping trip, but they definitely had a great time.

imagejpeg_0aMy Grand Nephew, Easton Moore, who is the youngest son of my niece Machelle and her husband, Steve, is having his tenth birthday today. Turning ten, is a big deal to Easton, as it is with most kids. He is leaving the little kid days of a single digit age behind, and moving on into the much more grown up days of double digit ages. Nothing could be more important to a guy than that!! After all, it is the beginning of so many new phases in his life…right??

Well, it is…but those new phases can seem a little bit daunting too. Many kids at this age, think it’s babyish to say things like, “I love you Mom!” For Easton, that could be a problem, because one of his favorite things is to sit on his mom’s lap when she sits down to watch television, and then tell her that he loves her about every 5 minutes. I hope that is something that Easton never allows to bother him. My grandson, Caalab is like that, and even though he is going to be 17 this summer, he still gives me a imagejpeg_0bhug and tells me he loves me…and he is very macho, so don’t worry about that, Easton, ok.

Easton is not sure he likes having his own room either, and he can often be found sleeping on the floor in his brother’s room. Again, that is not too unusual at this age, especially since he and his brother shared a room until recently. That is a problem he shares with his Aunt Susie, and seems to happen when the younger child finally gets their own room. The older one shared until they were old enough not to be bothered by that aloneness. Time will cure that little problem.

One thing Easton definitely doesn’t miss is being in the back seat of the car. He is now big enough to no longer require a booster seat, so he finally gets to ride up front with his mom…and now she is the one who finds that odd. I’m sure that Easton loves being closer to the radio, so he can turn it up when his favorite song, “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx AM comes on. Of imagejpeg_0dcourse, he is into anything Zombie, like his favorite movie, “I Am Legend” and his favorite game, “Walking Dead”, both of which I will leave to him, since I don’t like zombies or vampires or walking dead people…at all!!

Basically, Easton is a goofy kid, even if he is 10 years old now. He likes to make all the faces that are so in style these days and pick on those around him, like hiding on the floor of the car so he can scare the person getting in. He likes to pick on his cousin, Kaytlyn too…but I’m not sure she finds that very amusing. Today is Easton’s tenth birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! We love you!! Have a great day, but quit growing up so fast, ok!!

Boys Night OutWhen a household has three boys, and one baby girl, and each of the boys have a friend spend the night on the same night, what do you have? Well, besides chaos and a severely outnumbered little girl, you have boys night out! For the boys who are staying the night with my grand nephews, it truly is boys night out. For Xander, Zack, and Isaac, it is boys night in, not that they mind that one bit. Now, as to my niece Jenny and her husband Steve, I have to think they might be just a little bit insane, but then they have been around boys for most of their married life, so I suppose they are used to the ways of little boys. I, on the other hand, having had girls, would most likely have gone insane…until I had my grandsons anyway. Being around boys does change a person.

Slumber parties…or boys night out, as my grand nephews informed me…like slumber party must be the closest thing to cooties on girls, and something they definitely would never be a part of…usually follow the same pattern. Lots of playing, loudness, wild and wound up kids, and little sleep. Nevertheless, do not call it a slumber party. I mean, what self respecting macho man would have a slumber party. There are differences between slumber parties and boys night out, however. Girls usually do things like make up, dancing, and of course gossip. Boys, on the other hand might play super hero, watch movies, or talk about their various weapons. I suppose when you think about it, the two events really are very different. And I suppose that calling this event a slumber party, could be thought to be insulting…a mistake I hope not to make in the future, because my grand nephews looked at me like I had kind of messed up in the great aunt department, and I’m supposed to be the cool great aunt, not the nerd. I guess that is something I’ll have to work to repair now, but that will have to happen in the future for now.

I didn’t ask Jenny and Steve how the boys night out went for them, but I guess it was ok, because they were both in church today, meaning that even if they feel little bit exhausted, or a little bit crazy, they did survive the event. I guess that is a good thing. And as for Aleesia, the lone little girl in the house that night, well, she was still smiling, so either they all had a good time playing with her too, or her parents kept her away from the boys so they could have their own space. Whatever the case may be, the boys told me that they had a great time at their boys night out.

Siara & Chantel Christmas 2012As our trip to Washington winds down, we find ourselves in Great Falls, Montana where our newest college girl is attending the University of Great Falls. Siara is a cheerleader for the Argonauts. This is her first year of college, and the first time away from home. When she left Casper, she seemed like such a little girl still, but when she was home at Christmas, I was surprised at how much like an adult she now seemed. I guess that is normal, when kids get out on their own for the first time, but more so I think when they get married or go away to college. They have to rely on themselves for everything for the first time in their lives, and that changes a person.

Like most college kids, whose hours are long during the week, and late on the weekends, CheerleadersSiara’s favorite thing to do is sleep. She is up by 5:30 three mornings a week for cheer practice, and also has several exercise classes she must attend to stay limber, and keep in shape for all the moves that cheerleaders do these days. As most of us know, cheerleading is now half gymnastics and half cheering. After a very early practice, Siara and some of her teammates hit the cafeteria for a good breakfast. Siara tells us that breakfasts at the school are amazing. That’s important after a workout, because I would imagine they are starving.

Siara’s class schedule is, in my opinion, pretty perfect, because while she has a heavy schedule, all the classes are scheduled from Monday through Thursday, so every weekend is a 3 day weekend. I would love that, and so does she…more days to sleep in until noon or 1:00. Now that is typical. So many people…adults, anyway, use those weekends to do work Good friendsaround the home or yard…imagine that, not sleeping through the weekend. But I suppose that if I had a 3 day weekend every week, I might want to take one of the days to sleep until noon, if I could manage it, since sleeping in for me is 8:00.

College changes people to a large degree, but some things never really change. Siara is still that cute little niece I know and love. She is sweet and funny, and loves to laugh. Her smiling face brings sunshine into an otherwise cloudy day. I know she will continue to grow up and change, but it’s nice to know that some things will always stay the same…whether she is a college girl or a wife and mother. She will always be our Siara.

When my granddaughter, Shai was a little girl, she was…well, a Drama Queen, as I think I have told you before. Many teenaged girls turn into Drama Queens for a time, but this was pretty much instantaneous for Shai. If you startled her, she came unglued. If you put her to bed, she came unglued. She had to be rocked to sleep, in order for Amy to get any peace during the day. Now, this wasn’t totally her fault, as some babies just startle easier than others, and of course, rocking her to sleep was so wonderful, that we all spoiled her in that arena, as well as plenty of rocking for her cousin Christopher.

Nevertheless, like her Grandma, Miss Shai did not like bugs…of any kind!!! With the possible exception of the lady bug. So, if she was playing, and she happened to see a bug, her instant reaction was to scream, “Budge…budge!!!”” This was her pronunciation of the word bug. I can understand her reaction, as I have been known to freak out about a bug my self. Even the tiniest spider, has the ability to make me cringe, as both my husband and my boss can tell you. Killing bugs…is simply not in my job description at home or at work!!! And I don’t think it is in Shai’s job description to this day either.

It’s funny that certain bugs don’t seem to bother us quite as much as others. I don’t mind Lady Bugs, and I don’t think Shai does either, and in the arena of other animals or insects, I love butterflies, but they really need to keep their distance, and yet I don’t mind if a Hummingbird tries to dive bomb me. Odd, I know, but that is just the way it is. I think that is another area that Shai and I agree on. One day she had a Hummingbird fly up to her shirt that happened to have a great big pink flower on it. She didn’t seem to be bothered by this little bird who obviously thought she was Hummingbird Feeder. She simply stood there until he realized that he was trying to eat from the wrong flower, and flew away, which of course took only a matter of seconds. I’m not sure what she would have done if he took longer. My guess is that she would have started screaming, “Budge!!! Budge!!”, and Amy would have had to rescue her from the horrible monster that she thought was her friend. I’m glad that was not the case. By the time she realized that the Hummingbird was that close, he was already gone.