For my grandnephew, Xander Spethman, there is a specific tradition that goes along with his birthday every year. He gathers his friends together for a party. Now, I know that you are thinking, “What’s different about that?” Well, the difference is that they build a fire in his parents fire pit, and the boys burn their schoolwork from the year. Having a birthday so close to the end of the school year, it works out really well to have a school work burning party. This year will be slightly different, in that he will be burning the last year of his middle school career. As a boy, I don’t suppose that fact stirs up the emotions, like it does for his mom, but maybe it brings a bit of sadness that a certain time in his life has come to a close. Nevertheless, this has been a year of lasts. He has played his last middle school football game, and his last middle school basketball game. There will be a last time in the old school, and the last time (for awhile anyway) that he will be in school with his brother, Zack.
Of course, Xander is still very close with his family. He and his dad, Steve are best friends, and he is always so sweet to his mom, Jenny. He and his brothers, Zack and Isaac are also good friends, and his little sister, Aleesia is his little princess. His parents and siblings come to any and all his activities possible. It is a family tradition. Always be supportive of each other. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he and his brothers don’t fight, or that his sister never gets on his nerves, but Xander takes being the oldest very seriously. He works hard to be a leader and a good role model. And he does a good job of it too. His younger siblings look up to their brother and view him with a sense of pride. He shows them the right way to do things. Kids look up to their older siblings, and it is very important to make sure they are getting the right message from their older sibling, or they can end up in a lot of trouble down the road.
While this year is a year of lasts for Xander, it is also a year of firsts. This will be Xander’s first year of high school, Its a major change in a student’s life. Before long graduation will be right around the corner. This year has found Xander with a girlfriend, and to my knowledge, that is his first. He has signed up for ROTC, and I know he will do well with that, specially in the area of shooting accuracy, since Xander has been trained to be a great shot by his parents. Probably the biggest new thing in Xander’s life, however, will e the fact that since he is now 15 years old, he will be getting his driver’s permit, so he can learn to drive. of course, his parents are excited to him to learn to drive, but they will also need to realize that they will most likely be relegated to the passenger side of the car…at least when Xander is in the car, because as we all know, 15 year olds need to drive!! There are a lot of changes coming his way, and we are so excited to see where life takes him next. Today is Xander’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens loves all things sports. He really needs a dedicated sports television. I would like to say that the man cave he now has is that dedicated sports television, but my sister, Alena tells me that he “takes control of whatever television he is at.” Mike’s favorite teams are the Colorado Rockies and the Denver Broncos…smart man. Those are my favorite teams too. Mike also loves to watch NASCAR, golf, basketball, bowling, well…the list could go on forever. If it’s sports, he will watch it…or play it.
Mike loves to golf, and has golfed in Buffalo, Wyoming; Cheyenne, Wyoming; North Platte, Nebraska, and he has played in some of the nicest courses around the country when he has been on business trips. Mike’s business trips have afforded him a few other opportunities as well. He got to sit in a suite while watching the Dallas Stars play hockey, and was served catered “snacks”…which were amazing, from what I hear…and of course, the whole thing was free of charge, because they like to treat these guys well on the business trips. He has also gone to Avalanche hockey games.
While watching the games is great, Mike is a sportsman in his own right. He has bowled for years, and gone to many bowling tournaments over the years. They have also traveled for other sporting events, going to Las Vegas and Bristol, Tennessee for NASCAR, and of course, Denver for baseball and football. He played softball, in the position of short stop for many teams, but mostly for the Salt Creek Mudders. He played basketball on a City League for years. Mike’s love of all things sports has spilled over to his family, or maybe they just learned to love sports because there was nothing else on television. I doubt that was the case, because he isn’t a meanie, after all, they just got caught up in his enthusiasm, and learned about the sports too. Every year, the Stevens family has a horseshoe tournament during their annual family reunion at Boysen Reservoir. Mike is so good at horseshoes, that he is usually the champion of the tournament. He is so good that he used to get into tournaments in Midwest, Wyoming where he earned money for his ability.
Probably the biggest news for Mike this year, however, has been his new pickup. Mike has never has a new vehicle, and he has wanted a new pickup for years. This past year, that dream became a reality, when he got to buy a 2016 Ford F250 pickup. He is so excited about it, and his family couldn’t be happier for him. Getting a brand new vehicle is a very big deal. His daughter, Michelle tells me that the picture of his pickup has be his phone’s screen saver since his got the pickup. It wasn’t a birthday present, but it was exciting anyway, and his family thinks it was a vehicle that was well deserved. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Matthew Masterson is turning 11 years old today. It’s hard for me to believe that Matt is that old already. Nevertheless, while he is growing up, he is still a kid. Matt is the only boy is a family of girls. Now, I’m sure that you are thinking that he is seriously outnumbered, but you would be wrong. Matt can handle his sisters. In fact, Matt has a natural ability to torture his sisters. I have seen this first hand. It’s not that Matt is a terrible kid, but rather that he is a boy, and this is just what boys do to their sisters. But, let someone bother his sisters…they will meet the fury of the tiger, because Matt will protect his sisters…from everyone but himself. Matt isn’t cruel after all. It’s just that no one is allowed to pick on his sisters, but him. Thankfully, they know their brother loves them, and I suppose that gives him just enough of an edge so that he doesn’t find out just how tough girls can be when pushed too far.
Matt is all about sports, like most boys are. Everything from riding his bike using the new ramp his cousin Garrett Stevens made him, to playing football with his cousins. It isn’t every kid that gets to have their own ramp, especially one that would be built as well as Garrett would build it, but Matt does, and he just loves playing on it. But there are a number of other games Matt and his cousins play too.
Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there is a new in game to play , that everyone likes, and Matt is very into it. The game is called Parkour. I had no idea what that was, so I researched it online. Apparently, it is a military style obstacle course competition. I must say it sounds rather interesting, and I can see Matt and his cousins Xander, Zack, and Isaac Spethman playing that. They are like the four musketeers, and they are very inventive.
As far as school sports go, Matt’s favorites right now are soccer and basketball, but he really likes any sport that he can play that gives him that adrenaline rush that he craves. I think that is a common thing, and anyone who has done one sport or another, just because it feels exciting to do it, can understand that. Today is Matt’s birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens has been in the oilfield business for many years. He is a hard working man, who is often quiet, and so people sometimes wonder if he is mad or just doesn’t like them. His kids boyfriends and girlfriends can attest to that, but nothing could be further from the truth, when it comes to Mike. Mike is a man who firmly believes that life should not be taken too seriously. He likes to laugh, and he likes to have those around him be happy too. One of his favorite things growing up and probably still today was to prank his sisters. I’m sure their house was one filled with laughter, as Mike scared, teased, and joked with his sisters. And of course, I’m equally sure that there was as much payback as the sisters to muster up, because as we all know, if you don’t pay it back, then they get to have all the fun.
When it comes to games, sports, and playing, Mike has never, and will never grow up. In the years that he and my sister Alena have been married, there has always been Family Game Night. Every week the family would play board games and eat fun food, as a way to connect with each other and build a great family bond. Sometimes, instead of board games, they would go play miniature golf or go to the video arcades. Mike just loves games. He loves the competition, but in a healthy way…never making it something to get mad about, win or lose. It was the perfect way to teach sportsmanship to the family. My niece, Michelle tells me that she and her brother, Garrett are both quite competitive, but because of game night, they have been able to learn sportsmanship too. They love winning, but it’s not the end of the world to lose either, because someone else got to win. Lacey, on the other hand, reminds me a lot of her dad, in her quiet mannerisms, and I think she is probably the least competitive of the bunch, or maybe as the youngest, she just figured she didn’t stand much of a chance, with all that competition going on at their house.
Mike played basketball in school, and several other sports, including baseball at different times, and he loves to watch sports. Mike is what you would have to call a sports fanatic, and if Alena didn’t like sports, she would be the proverbial sports widow, but she doesn’t seem to mind it either. Mike loves games…I guess you got that…and he doesn’t care if it is golf with the family, basketball of television, going to the video arcade, or playing his favorite phone game, which for now anyway is Poker. He doesn’t want to spend his whole like slaving away at his job, or feeling all depressed about the tougher parts of life. He likes to laugh, and he thinks everyone should find something in life to laugh about…every day. And, I for one, have to agree. I’m going to do that…find something to laugh about. Today is Mike’s birthday. Have a silly, laughing, happy birthday Mike!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock is all boy. He loves sports of any kind, as is good at all of them too. This year he played t-ball, flag football, soccer, and is soon to start basketball. Some kids are naturals at sports and others aren’t. Ethan falls into the naturals category. These sports make sense to him. He’s not afraid of the ball. He just gets out there and plays the game, and plays well. He doesn’t search for glory, but rather plays like a part of the team. That’s the mark of a good athlete.
Of course, like most boys Ethan’s age, he is into cars and ninja turtles, and super into Legos and star wars. If he is like most boys, he likes to turn the Legos into everything from cars to space ships, and with the annual Lego challenge that is held in the schools beginning in fifth grade, I’m sure Ethan will be a valuable member of that team as well…as soon as he gets to fifth grade, that is. But I guess I’m jumping the gun a little bit, since Ethan is only in Kindergarten right now.
Nevertheless, Ethan isn’t jumping the gun. He loves Kindergarten, and is a good student, learning much, and making friends. It’s always a good thing when kids like school, because it motivates them to do well. Ethan has always wanted to be one of the big kids, and figures that since he is the big brother to his sister, Rory, that being one of the big kids in school is just the logical next step. Ethan is a great friend to have. He is fun and always smiling and happy. In fact, his little sister Rory reaps the benefit of her brother’s happy, friendly ways every day. They are great friends, and he doesn’t seem to mind that she is his kid sister…at least not for now.
Ethan’s looks have changed some since he was a baby. What child does not change as they move from babyhood to childhood? But nothing has changed his looks quite as much as the event that took place on Christmas Eve. Ethan lost his first tooth. Now, I must say that it isn’t every child who gets to be visited by Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy on the same night. Seriously…how cool is that!! Ethan’s mom, Chelsea Hadlock tells me that he was very brave. In fact, he pulled out his tooth all by himself. It is just another way of noting that Ethan is getting to be a very big boy. Such bravery is only given to a few. Most kids not only need help, but they are a little scared too. Ethan is going to be tall, like his daddy, my nephew, Ryan Hadlock who is about 6’5″ and is teaching his son more than just the ropes of being a big brother. Ryan is also teaching Ethan the ropes on teasing the girls in the family. I’m sure that before long, Ethan will be as much an expert at that as his dad is.
Every Sunday, right after church, Ethan and Rory get to have Grandma and Grandpa Time. That is probably the biggest blessing my sister, Allyn Hadlock and brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock have in their lives…or at least one of the biggest. The kids come over right after church, and they watch movies or the Disney Channel, play games, and of course, munch. What Grandma and Grandpa Time doesn’t include that? When I asked my sister for some ideas about what was going on in Ethan’s life, she gave me a few ideas, but then she said the one thing that shows that she is the grandma the very most. She suggested that maybe Ethan’s mom might have some other ideas of cute things Ethan has done, and finished by saying, “Of course, I think everything he does is cute!! Haha!!” Isn’t that the truth. Today is Ethan’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
You have heard that for everything there is a season, and that is true in so many ways. One that I doubt if you ever thought about, is the seasons for things we do. Now this isn’t going to be a serious story about philosophical things, but rather it will follow a little bit different path. Typically, for most men, there is football season, baseball season, basketball season, and hunting season, with a few others thrown in there for some people. In times past, most women would have left this to the men, but that has changed, as there are probably an almost equal amount of women that like to do these things too.
As to the season for hunting…which I think just got over…but since my husband and I don’t hunt, I can’t say for sure. I do know that for years my parents went hunting, and I can remember the wild meat…cooked to perfection by my mom. It was so good. Not everyone can cook wild meat to make it not taste gamey, but she could. They went hunting with my grandparents, and I know that my uncles did too. Especially as young men. I doubt if my aunts went, as girls anyway, but I could be wrong on that. I do know that a lot of my cousins hunt…both male and female cousins, so it is something that runs in our family on both sides. Lots of the girls like to go hunting with their husbands, but the thing I find especially endearing are the girls who like to go hunting with their dads, such as my cousin, Jamie Patsie, who was not deterred when her husband Kevin couldn’t go hunting with her. She just talked to her dad, Terry Limmer, and the two of them made a day of it. That is such a cool thing too, because it gave them some father/daughter time.
The little girls in the family maybe can’t go hunting with their dads yet, but that certainly didn’t stop Meadow Nordquist from going out to see what her dad, Aron had shot, and even taking the opportunity to pose for a victory shot with him. She was very excited about her dad’s conquest. I think her sister, Addie was a little put off by the idea of sitting on a dead animal, so she would have none of this whole “picture with her dad’s conquest” thing. I suppose the time will come when she will think differently about that. It may be with her husband, and then her dad though. Time will tell on that, but little Meadow was very excited to see what her dad had shot…and I’m sure they will all enjoy the meat.
Like every other season, hunting has a season, and when that season is over, it’s over. I’m sure it is something everyone hates to have happen…especially if their hunt was not successful, but it is inevitable nevertheless. So, all I can say to that is that it is a good thing that football season is still going on, and basketball season will follow, and baseball after that. Before they know it, hunting season will be upon them again, and they will be back out there looking for the best buck. That’s just the way it is…to everything there is a season.
My cousin, Larry Cameron married his ex-wife, Kim about a year after she had her first child. Her son, Nehemiah was born with Cerebral Palsy. His biological dad was never in the picture, and that is definitely his loss, because Nehemiah is a very special guy. Larry was with Kim for the birth, and is the only dad, Nehemiah has ever known. Larry loved Nehemiah immediately, and after his marriage to Kim, he adopted him. Nehemiah loved Larry as much as Larry loved him too. They were extremely close from the very beginning. Nehemiah, who often goes by Neo, has two siblings…Moira and Conner.
Larry had joined the Army when he was 18 and spent 22 years in the service before retiring. For a time, was stationed in Korea. His kids were with him for a time after his divorce from Kim. Moira and Conner then went to live with their mother again, but Nehemiah stayed there for about 3 years. Nehemiah loved Korea, and wants to go back there to work as a teacher. He is very smart, and he will be an excellent teacher.
Like a lot of people, Neo is quiet until he gets to know you, and then he shows his true fun nature. He is very active. Being in a wheelchair has not slowed him down one bit. There is no obstacle that Neo considers too big. He simply never considers that he might not be able to do something. He simply does it and proves all the naysayers wrong. He hunts, water skis, plays basketball, and races. He is not afraid of any sport. If he decides he wants to play…he simply finds a way. His abilities and determination are inspiring. So many people just accept a disability, then sit down and do nothing, but not Neo. He is more active than a lot of people with no disabilities…maybe we should all take a page from his book and get out there and live life to the fullest. Recently, he went to a Pow Wow with his dad, and a friend from his Rugby team. His grandparents, my cousins, Shirley and Shorty Cameron, met up with them there. They all had a great time. He doesn’t get to visit his grandparents as often as he would like, and when he is there, it is hard for him to get around, so often times he has to be carried from one room to another, but he goes anyway…as often as he can…because he loves them so much, and they feel the same way about Neo.
Neo is a very loving and giving person, but he is also very independent and self reliant. He doesn’t like to have to depend on people to take care of him. That shows very strong spirit. For all of his life so far, Neo has needed someone to drive him around, often his dad, but that is about to change, because Neo is working very hard on getting his drivers license. I have a feeling that Larry, his dad, might find that just a little bit bittersweet. Today is Nehemiah’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Neo!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!
Watching Matthew grow from a baby, to a toddler, to a little boy of nine years, I have seen so many changes in him. He was his daddy’s boy from the very start…in fact I am amazed at just how much he looks like my nephew, Rob Masterson. They are like twins, except for the difference in their ages. They are a lot alike in their personalities too. Both are tough guys, but when it comes to their sisters, they are as kind as can be. Matthew is so patient with the girls. He likes being big brother to Anna, and doesn’t even mind being little brother to Raelynn, and oldest sister, Christina. In some ways, I think it would be hard to be the only boy in a family of girls, but Matthew doesn’t seem to mind. He is so loving and caring toward his sisters, and he would defend them to the end…even against his parents, if he thinks the situation warrants it. Nevertheless, he is not above torturing them himself…but, understand this…no one else had better try.
Matthew has a caregiver’s heart…a bit like his Great Aunt Caryn and his Grandma, my sister, Cheryl. Recently, when his mom, my niece Dustie, had to have surgery, he stayed by her side for two days, making sure that she had whatever she needed. Matthew may be a little boy, but his heart is great big, and he is a family man to his very core. That makes him a hero is his mother’s eyes, and I think there are a lot of us who would absolutely agree with her on that. It’s funny, that while Matthew is going to be a big third grader this year, not much has changed in his personality, because Matthew is clearly a boy who is completely settled on who he is. His family is important, and he is all about what is important.
Matthew is, nevertheless, a macho man. He loves sports. He plays basketball and soccer, and he is learning to shoot. Like most boys his age, he is excited about all of the opportunities that have come his way in the area of sports. He never was the kind of kid to sit around doing nothing. He is always on the move. That is a good thing when it comes to sports. You have to stay on top of things if you are going to be a good player, and Matthew is a mover. He is able to scoot around quickly to be where he needs to be to do some good in the game. I am quite certain that as he grows up, he will be a great player and team member. Today is Matthew’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Matthew!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As my grandchildren get closer to graduation from high school, I am beginning to realize just how much I am going to miss all their activities. As little ones, there were the school plays, awards ceremonies, and track day, and they might also play basketball or soccer. Then in summer they might play baseball or some other sport. By the time they were in middle school, the plays were gone, but there was still the occasional concert, basketball, track, and summer baseball. I began to realize that we were at the end of that era after Josh graduated to middle school. Things were very different now. By this time, all three of the other grandchildren had decided that they didn’t want to be in sports in school anymore, although, Chris and Caalab like to play softball on their team from work in the summer, and that is fun to watch too. Still, mostly they were busy with their jobs, studies, and plans for their futures.
I realize that if I want to see much of the school activities anymore, I will need to attend as many of Josh’s track meets as I can. I always liked to go to them, but this years has been more difficult. There were more of them that were during the day and during the work week. Nevertheless, I have been able to make a couple of them. I think it is sad that the closer I get to having no more of these activities, the fewer I am able to get to. I know that I will miss these when they are over.
Today was one of the times I was able to get to Josh’s meet. I really love to watch Josh run. He does best at the long races, and I think that those kids who do the 800 meter and 1600 meter races are to be commended. I like the 400 meter too with Josh. He just seems to be able to bring it on as the race progresses. That is so not like his grandmother. Running is not my thing. I can walk for two hours or more, but running…less that 5 minutes. Josh is my hero in the running arena. This year has been a bit of a transition for Josh, and that has been a little hard. Before, he raced against his own age group, but in high school they all race together. Some of those seniors are quite a bit stronger than Josh. Nevertheless, Josh stood his ground against kids who are bigger, older, and stronger than he is. I know that as he grows, he will be the one who is bigger, older, and stronger, and then he will be in charge. I can’t wait for that day, but in the meantime, I enjoy watching the journey he is on.
We often think we know everything there is to know about a person, but what we don’t know would really surprise us. Recently while going through some old pictures, I came across my mother-in-law’s high school yearbooks, and her old scrap book. What I found in there surprised me very much, but that is not so surprising, since I first met her when she was 43 years old. Nevertheless, I expect that some of the things I found out about her, will surprise even her children, because I know they don’t know most of what I discovered.
For all the years I have known my mother-in-law, she was a homemaker, and pretty much a home body. She liked knitting and crocheting, and had done quite a bit of sewing in her time. She canned vegetables, and had raised many a cow for beef for the family. She loved horses, and as a girl, she would have rather been on a horse than pretty much anywhere else. That is all things we all did know about her. But…in high school, my mother-in-law was quite the joiner. Now that surprised me very much. Her extra curricular activities included things like office aide and library staff, neither of which would be outside the realm of what I would have expected from her, nor would working on the annual staff or even the school paper, called The Shovel. Any of those things might have been something that I could see her being interested in. Really, other than the horse riding, my mother-in-law had always seemed to me like the quiet type, who didn’t like things that were noisy or too strenuous, so any of these things would fit into my idea box for her personality.
Then, my idea of just who she was, took a major hit. The scrapbook showed pictures of her as a member of the school drill team…the baton twirlers, as many of us would know them. I thought, “Wow!! That just doesn’t seem like her at all!!” To add to my surprise, I found that she was also a member of the pep club!! You can’t even get her interested in watching a football game today, so what was this all about? After this, I wasn’t totally surprised to find that she was on the basketball team, but since she as not been very athletic in all the years I have known her…not even wanting to go for a walk, I must say, it was hard to imagine her being out on the basketball court.
By now, my whole view of the person my mother-in-law used to be has been completely shattered, so I began to be prepared for more surprises to come, and she did not let me down in that area either. Since I have never heard my mother-in-law sing, my next big shocker was to find that she was a member of the Glee Club…who would have thought that?? But, it doesn’t stop there. She was also a member of the Dramatics Club. Imagine that, my mother-in-law the actress. I simply cannot imagine her being in a play, but apparently she was. And lest we leave out perhaps one of the most shocking things, I was informed that she was into school politics!! In fact, she was it’s leader, being duly elected Senior Class President of the Class of 1949 at Colstrip High School in Colstrip, Montana. She has never been interested in politics that I can recall, and mostly wouldn’t even discuss it much.
I’m sure you think that you have heard all the things about my mother-in-law’s high school years that there could possibly be to tell, but you would be wrong, because the thing that shocked me the most, whether it should have or not, was the fact that while my mother-in-law has never gone by anything but Joann in all the years I have known her, apparently there was a time when she was…Annie. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but it is there in black and white in her yearbook. Today is my mother-in-law’s 83rd birthday!! Happy birthday…Annie! Have a great day!! We love you!!