13100923_10206141664436006_2077177815892377677_n[1]It’s hard to come into a family as the newest member, but sometimes, as in the case of my future niece, Kayla Smiley…soon to be Stevens, that new family member just fits in perfectly. Kayla met my nephew Garrett Stevens when his sister, Lacey introduced them. I never really thought of Lacey as a matchmaker, but in this case, she hit a homerun. Garret and Kayla practically fell in love at first sight. They dated for a several years, and will tie the knot this summer. My sister, Alena Stevens and her husband, Mike, couldn’t be happier. Kayla will be their first in-law child, and they are looking forward to the many new things in the future that come with having a daughter-in-law…namely grandchildren, of course, but also just having her be a part of their family. She has really endeared herself to them.

Kayla and Garrett might have married sooner, but she was concentrating on her studies. She is now a social worker, and she graduated Phi-Alpha Honor Society with an associates in social work. She worked very hard to get where she is, and while I’m sure that she enjoyed her studies, but I think she is feeling ready to be done now too. For Kayla there is still one more year to receive her Masters degree, but the time has come for the two of them to go on together. The next year will be filled with studies and with life. And of course, we are all looking forward to the children they will have in the years to come, but for now, we are just happy to welcome her into our family.Garrett & Kayla

For now, summer is here, and for Kayla and Garrett, that means camping. After my mom, Garrett’s grandmother passed away last year, Garrett and Kayla inherited the travel trailer Mom and Dad had. They have been working on getting it ready and they using it to go out and enjoy nature. They both really love camping, and that camper has been a wonderful blessing to them, and we have all been glad to see it staying in the family and being used. I know that the future will be bright for Kayla and Garrett, and we can’t wait for her to be a part of the family. Today is Kayla’s birthday. Happy birthday Kayla!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

James- Tall, Dark, and HandsomeMy grand nephew, James Renville is the typical tall, dark, and handsome type of guy, who makes the girls absolutely swoon and wish he would take notice of them. I’m told that somehow, James doesn’t know that he is cute, and since he is a little bit shy, he basically leaves all those girls sadly wishing that he would just ask them out. I’m sure he does notice them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he does anything about it.

It’s funny, in my memory files, I can still see James as a little Elvis look alike who was always very much into swords and ninja stuff. It James and friends in Virginia Beachis so hard to believe that he is almost grown up. Next year he will be graduating from high school and his kid years will be behind him forever. I don’t know what he plans to do after high school, but he has another year to figure that out, so I’m sure he will get all of that together by the time he graduates.

James has always been a quiet kid, which tells me that he has a lot of thoughts in his head that he is concentrating on. That reminds me a bit of myself. Your mind is always running. It’s almost entertaining all by itself. It’s like it sits there and explores all the possibilities there might be in life. Who knows maybe James will Toni and Jamestake after his Great Aunt Caryn and start writing. Time will tell. For now, James is spending his summer working at The Gap and hanging out with friends and family.

My mom had always wanted to have a grandchild who was born on her dad’s birthday, but none of her kids managed to accomplish that. Alena came the closest with her son, Garrett, but still missed it by one day. My niece, Toni finally got the job done when she gave Mom a great grandson, who was born on Grandpa Byer’s birthday. That was quite exciting for Mom. Today is James’ 17th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!

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