My niece, Chantel Balcerzak is a very talented artist, and wedding planner. In the last three years she has planned the weddings of her two step-children, as well as her two children’s weddings. I don’t know about you, but for weddings in three years wold probably put me in the nut house, but Chantel seems to take most things in stride. Wedding planning really is her passion, and the weddings of her for kids are her greatest wedding accomplishments…and her greatest responsibilities. She has taken them very seriously, wanting every detail to be perfect.
Chantel decided after planning a couple of these weddings, that she had a knack for it and so, she started a business called Next To The Dress. The business is doing well, but planning a wedding for a customer and planning a wedding for your child are two different things. When it is your child’s wedding, you also have all the stressed out emotions of your children, as well as your own emotions too. In addition to that, when it is her child’s wedding, Chantel has parts of the planning that normally aren’t a part of the wedding planner’s duties. Being the wedding planner and the mom is a unique role for any wedding planner, and yet being the mom is often how wedding planners come to be wedding planners. They plan a wedding for their child, and then start a business.
Chantel is such a great artist, and she brings all of her artistic abilities to create the wedding of her client’s dreams. She can create just about any design her client can dream up. That kind of talent isn’t easy to find, and it takes a lot of effort on Chantel’s part. She spend hours searching the internet for design examples to show her clients, so that their wedding will become the dream they have always fantasized about. That is really what makes Chantel such a great wedding planner. It is more than just an attention to detail, it is a dedication to the dreams of her clients, and isn’t that what it is all about?
While Chantel is very busy right now, she is very excited for this wedding. It is the last for her children, and that can be a little emotional. Chantel is a sentimental person,so crying at weddings is simply a given. I don’t think any mom can go to the wedding of her child and not be emotional. After all, that bride or groom is the baby she carried for nine months, and then raised to adulthood. They will always be her babies, and as we all know, most mom’s are weepy people when it comes the sentimental things their kids do, like weddings graduations, and parenthood. And Chantel considers herself to be a queen of emotion, so don’t expect anything else. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
A while back, I wrote a story about a house in Massachusetts that was built by our ancestor, James Noyes, who is my husband, Bob’s 7th great grandfather. Almost immediately, a cousin of ours, Paul Noyes told me that he had been there many times, and yet another cousin, David Noyes had been invited inside and had pictures. Of course, this was exactly what I was hoping for, because I wanted to talk about the interior of the home, but could not find any pictures online. So, I want to thank David for these beautiful pictures, and Paul for forwarding them to me, so that I can tell a little about the inside of this grand old house. My husband, Bob was sure that the interior had probably been renovated several times since the 1646 date that the house was built, but other than what has been documented, there is no indication of a massive remodel.
James Noyes, moved to and was co-founder of Newberry, Massachusetts in 1635, bringing with him, his wife Sarah Brown Noyes. Little was documented about where in Newbury they lived before the Noyes home was built in 1646, but the family grew by five children…Joseph, James, Sarah (who died at an unknown young age), Moses, and John. I would assume that their growing family was the reason for the large home to be built. Even with that, the home was not what we would consider large these days. The current home has five bedrooms, but it is my guess that the original probably had only three, a master bedroom for the parents, a bedroom for the boys, and a bedroom for the girls. The house was only one room deep in those years, and while it might have been somewhat small, I can only imagine what stories those walls would tell, if they could talk. My guess is that there would be stories of laughter, sadness, and crying as new babies joined the family. The family grew, with the additions of Thomas, Rebecca, William, and a second daughter named Sarah, after her mother and the first Sarah, who had passed away.
James and Sarah lived in the house for the remainder of their days, during which time the house saw children come into the family, and children marry and move away, returning now and again to share their children with their parents. Then on October 22, 1656, just seven months after his second daughter named Sarah, was born, James passed away. The house saw the sadness of a family in mourning for its patriarch. Sarah became the head of the family then, and so it remained until her passing on September 13, 1691. James and Sarah were blessed with at least 47 grandchildren…not all of whom lived very long unfortunately. Not much is said about what the children did with the home after their mother’s passing, but while it has been home to a number of families over the many years since it was built, it remains an important historical home and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. There were some changes, which added size to the home making it a five bedroom home at this present time. The last time the home was sold was in 2010, and it is my assumption that it was the current owners who allowed our cousin David Noyes to have a tour and take the pictures I now have of this beautiful home.
Most of the pictures we take and display or share of our kids, show smiling faces and children on their best behavior. It’s not that anyone thinks that there is a perfect child, who never cries or refuses to cooperate, it’s just that the challenging moments we all have with our children, don’t usually find their way into the memories we share or even want to have. As a grandmother, who has graduated from the idea that there is a way to always make sure your child behaves when they are in front of people, I have begun to appreciate the other side of photography…the not so perfect, non-smiley faced picture of a child. I don’t mind the face that screams, “I’m over it!!” It’s something we would all like to do at some point in our lives…or even our day, but as adults, we have to control ourselves a little more. Sometimes we lose control too, but kids are so much more free to just express their disgust over how things are going than adults are.
Many kids these days are used to having their pictures taken. My niece, Aleesia Spethman sees a camera and immediately strikes a pose and puts on a smiling face. She loves having her picture taken, but even Aleesia has her breaking point…that point when she is tired and in truth, over it. Since she is only three, I’m sure some of those grumpy faces were due to needing a nap, because Aleesia is usually a very smiley faced girl. Nevertheless, Aleesia is no pushover, as her brothers can attest. She is quick to let people know if they are getting on her last nerve. Still, for the most part she loves having her picture taken, and she is a very photogenic little girl.
Sometimes, two little ones are vying for superiority, or maybe ownership of an item or spot. Personally, I find it pretty funny when little ones try to show each other who is the boss. In the end this little fight between my grandson, Christopher Petersen and my granddaughter, Shai Royce, who are only a day apart in age, and who, at birth weighed exactly the same 7 pounds 3 ounces, was a no win situation, because as I recall, they both had to get out of the car seat. Funny thing that. Most kids hate to sit in a car seat, and yet since this one wasn’t in the car, it somehow became not a car seat, but rather a toy, or maybe just a chair. It made no difference how the moms felt about how the kids were acting. They both felt like they were the one who had been there first, and they were both over the whole situation.
Into most little lives, a sibling must enter. Sometimes the baby is born into a family with other children, and so they just seem like a normal part of life, but sometimes as can be the case with the oldest child, that new little sibling is a bit of a culture shock. Still, most of the time the older child is very excited about this new little playmate, but sooner or later it occurs to the older child that this new little baby sure gets a lot of attention, or cries a lot, or is…basically very needy. That is the point when they become just a little bit disenchanted with this new little person, and they start to wonder why their parents decided to get this kid anyway. And sometimes they are very jealous of this new sibling, and really want the baby to be sent back. Oh they may still love them sometimes, but they sure can be annoying, and they sure take up a lot of Mommy’s and Daddy’s time. Time that used to be exclusively the older child’s time, and now must be shared.
For my niece Chantel Masterson Balcerzak, who really did love her sister, Toni Masterson Chase, and who I don’t really think ever felt a lot of resentment, I suppose it was really just a matter of letting everyone know that she was still there. Chantel was always a bit of a Diva, and so she liked her fair share of attention. She liked being the big sister, and helping her mom with the kids who came along after her, but just remember that she was still there, and she was after all…cute too. Of course, it wasn’t like anyone was going to forget that, because after all…Chantel was the first grandchild and the first niece, and we were all excited to have her here. Nevertheless, I suppose that when Toni came along, there was a bit of attention being paid to the new baby. So, our Chantel decided that it was time to remind us that she was the baby too.
That said, one day, Chantel saw Toni’s empty baby carrier, and decided that she would just show us that she still fit the part of baby pretty well. So, she proceeded to plop down in the baby carrier, get her self situated in a very comfortable position, and flash that cute little smile of hers, as if to say, “I’n da baby too!!” Chantel was never a very big girl…in fact, fully grown, she is only 4’10”, so she really could fit in that baby carrier at two years old. I guess she proved her point. She could still play the part of a baby. Still, as the Diva part of Chantel continued to grow, she really didn’t want to take Toni’s place for very long, and as we all know, being the baby really can be kind of boring, especially when they are at the age of doing a lot of sleeping. That part didn’t interest Chantel very much at all. She was always a busy little girl, who had a lot of living to do. Sleeping was overrated. In the end, she opted for being the big sister over being the baby.
Things have a way of coming full circle in life. I remember, so well, the point when my daughter, Corrie and her then new husband, Kevin Petersen left their wedding reception. All of the planning, the ceremony, and now the beautiful reception were over, and the kids were on their way to their honeymoon, and then their own lives. I had held up so well, and yet, after I kissed them goodbye, and they left, I turned and said to my sister, “Well, they’re gone.” Suddenly, and without any notice, the tears welled up in my eyes. My baby was leaving home. My world was mixed up, and…well, wrong, but they were so happy. This was so right for them.
A few very short years later, my daughter, Corrie was dropping their oldest son, Christopher at my house for me to take to her sister, Amy Royce who was going to babysit him, along with her daughter, Shai. Christopher was just six weeks old, and Corrie’s maternity leave was over. As Corrie came in my door, she was already crying, and I knew just how she felt. Everything felt so mixed up, and wrong for her too. Christopher had not been away from her since his conception, and now he would be on the other side of town with her sister. While she knew he was not so far away, and she would see him at lunch, so she could nurse him and spend that precious time with him, he was, nevertheless, not with her. We normally think of this separation as only happening to the mother of the baby, but that isn’t really so. I think it’s just as hard to leave your baby, when you are the dad too.
Every milestone along the way has been rather bittersweet for Corrie, and for Kevin too. Kevin always tried to hold it together for Corrie, but this change is different, and it has hit both of them and both of their sons Chris and Josh very hard. On the 29th of this month, Corrie and Kevin took their boys on a camping trip that will always be different than any other camping trip. They went to move Chris to his college dorm in Sheridan, Wyoming. Both Corrie and Kevin are struggling with this drastic change in their lives, and it would not surprise me to hear that there were tears all around. I know it would that way for me.
It is so hard to take your baby to a different town to live…even if that baby is now eighteen years old. Everything about that feels so mixed up, and seriously wrong. It’s not that it is so very far away, but rather that Chris won’t be living with them anymore…at least not for a while…like three years…other that holidays and summers. After that, it’s hard to say. Lots of kids never move back home after college, even if they move back to the same city. Things may never really be the same for them again, and that is what makes it all so terribly hard. That is what makes this so mixed up…and wrong, and yet, so right for Chris, and so necessary.
Being the first grandchild in our family, Chantel was a bit of a novelty to us. At the time of her birth, my sister, Cheryl and her then husband, Rob were living at our house, prior to and during his basic training in the Air Force, and prior to their move to Plattsburgh, New York, where they would be stationed. I will never forget the night Chantel arrived. It was, of course the middle of the night, and we were awakened to let us know that my parents, Cheryl, and Rob were heading to the hospital. Of course, back then, you didn’t get to know what the baby was, because that technology was not yet available. That made for much more excitement on our part…and a very long wait…or at least it seemed like it. I can’t say for sure that it was a long labor, and it is likely that it wasn’t, because Cheryl didn’t really have long labors, as I recall.
Before we knew it, our lives would be changed forever, as we went from being little girls to being aunts. It was an exciting time for us. Having a new baby in the house, when there hadn’t been one for 9 years, was such a change. She was so cute and so little, and we were mesmerized. I have always loved babies and every single one is the cutest, the funniest, and the cuddliest, but your first niece or nephew is a special event…especially when you are young and don’t have children of your own. You suddenly feel a part of something that is very cool. Even if they cry and need their diapers changed, it just doesn’t matter, because that is your niece or your nephew.
Through the years, Chantel continued to delight us with her stylish ways. She was always a little diva, and we loved it. The camera was always kind to her, because she seemed to always know just when to strike a pose, and just which pose to strike. Of course, her greatest beauty comes from within her, where a kind and loving heart resides. And when you have a kind and loving heart, that inner beauty can’t help but spill out of you all the time. Today is my first niece, Chantel’s birthday. Chantel, we love you very much. Your special ways are always a delight. Happy birthday!! Have a beautiful day!!
Sometimes, I really wish all my babies could have stayed babies. Not just my girls, but my grandbabies too. Ok, I know that sounds silly, but when I look at pictures, taken when they were babies, and I see those sweet little faces, I just can’t help myself. I know that if my girls hadn’t grown up, I wouldn’t have the grandchildren I have, but I still miss their little baby faces too. I wish I could go back in time for a little while every so often, so I could visit the babies they used to be. That would be so cool!! To be able to re-connect with the babies they used to be would be such a wonderful gift.
Each of my daughters have given me the most precious gifts of two grandchildren. The first two are just one day apart. Oh, the times we had with those two were so amazing. What one of them didn’t think of, the other one did. They had such different personalities. When one was crying, the other was laughing…hmmm, I wonder if there was a reason for that. The pictures we took of them were so varied. Because Amy babysat her nephew, Christopher, the babies were together a lot, so there were a lot of pictures of them together. And you never knew if they would be fighting or playing. Nevertheless, we were able to get some pictures of them that, to this day, make me wish I could go visit the babies they used to be…if only for just a little while.
My youngest two grandsons are 15 months apart, and their relationship has often been one of vying for superiority. Being the youngest two and each having a, possibly bossy older sibling, they didn’t appreciate having this other little kid trying to boss them too. When they were together, it was sometimes a war zone. Nevertheless, they could produce some of the sweetest smiles I have ever seen. There is nothing like those little baby smiles. The same child smiling as an adolescent, doesn’t look the same as that innocent little baby smile, babies can produce, because only a baby can smile that way. Once babyhood is gone, so is that innocence, and that is why I would like to be able to go back in time now and then, to visit the babies they used to be.
When you are a little girl, and you are having a really bad day, it’s really nice to have somebody who is always on your side. Very often that person in a little girls life is her grandpa. Little girls have a way of stealing their grandpa’s heart,and when the going gets tough, grandpa is a wonderful ally to have on your side. And the funny thing about those little girls is that it takes them about 5 seconds to get their grandpa figured out.
And it’s not like those grandpas mind being wrapped around the little fingers of their granddaughters, because they don’t. The first time they look at that little face, they are hooked. And when something upsets their little princess, they will do just about anything to make it all better. It’s funny that sometimes young parents can get pretty nervous about why their little darling is upset and crying, but to the grandparents, who have been through all this before, it isn’t a big deal. And isn’t it funny that the older we get the less torn up we get about little ones crying, and the more soothing we can be to the child. Oh I know that doesn’t apply to just every grandparent. Some do have a harder time with crying children as they get older, but in many cases, I find that our focus turns to the child and not the embarrassment at the crying.
That is the type of grandparents Corrie found herself with as a little girl. Grandparents who weren’t bothered by a little fussing, but rather were ready to help her with whatever it took to ease her troubled little mind at that moment. Corrie and all the grandchildren who came after her, have always loved their grandparents very much, and now that they are older, and in need of a little help themselves, it is those grandchildren who have stepped up to give them a helping hand. It is a way of returning the love that was shown to them all those years ago. A way of saying, “Yes, we remember all you did for us, and all the love you gave, and now it is our turn to show you how much we care…how much we love you.”