dating

As a little boy, my grandson, Caalab Royce was always smiling, laughing, telling jokes, and of course, teasing his sister, Shai Royce, who didn’t always appreciate her younger brother’s sense of humor. In fact, there was a time when she was very willing to sell him at auction!! Shai was sure that she would never get along with her brother, and she would always want to send him back, sell him, or ship him off somewhere. The teasing never has stopped, but Shai’s dislike of her brother certainly has. These days she thinks of him as her best friend, and she knows that his teasing is just who he is and that he will always love his sister.

Caalab has a smile that lights up his whole face. And whenever I saw it, my heart would just melt. He was one boy who grabbed a hold of your heart and hung on tight. It was hard to be angry at his antics, when he flashed that smile. I think that might have been what Shai finally saw in her brother too, once she got beyond the “annoyance years.” That time came when they were teenagers. I remember stopping by their house one day, and there they were, sitting on the steps, actually talking…not fighting. It was a shocking moment, but also a wonderful moment. It was a moment I knew would come at some point, nevertheless, it was still unexpected.

These days, Caalab is all grown up. He and his sister are still best friends, but much has changed in life again. Caalab, who works full time at Red Robin in Bellingham, Washington is a responsible man who can always be counted on at work and with people. That part really hasn’t changed much, because Caalab could always be counted on. Now what has changed is that he is so busy and lives so far away, that I don’t get to see him nearly as much as when he was a kid. I miss that very much, and sometimes I still tear up over that…but, I get to see him very soon, so that makes me very happy.

Caalab’s family all tell me the same thing about what’s going on in his life. They say, “He works a lot.” I told them that “all work and no play, makes Caalab a dull boy,” but I think there must be more than that. I think it might have something to do with a certain girl named Chloe Foster. Caalab and Chloe have been dating for a while now, and I have a feeling that all of that “lost” free time is being spent with Chloe. I can’t say that I blame him though, because I have heard nothing but good things about Chloe, and I can’t wait to meet her when we visit them. Recently Caalab took a little bit of time off from his busy schedule and dating life to stand as best man for his buddy’s wedding, and he sure looked very handsome. Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day, and we will see you soon!! We love you!!

Very early yesterday morning, a little boy named Jaxx David Harman was keeping his parents up all night. That may not seem like a strange thing to the parents of little ones, but little Jaxx had a very good reason for keeping his parents up…it was going to be his birthday, and he was excited. It wasn’t his birthday yet, and no one knew for sure if his birthday would be May 29th or May 30th. It depended on just how much of a hurry Jaxx was in. As it turned out, Jaxx wasn’t in a big hurry, and by the time he made his entrance, it was 4:15am on May 30th. Let’s hope he doesn’t make a habit of being up so late.

Jaxx is the youngest child of my grand nephew, Jake Harman and his wife, Melanie. They have two daughters, Alice and Izabella, both of whom are very excited to have a little brother. Alice, being the oldest understands all this better than Izabella, but Izabella is quite interested anyway. Oh, I know that as little Jaxx grows up, he will most likely torment his big sisters, as most little brothers…or brothers in general…do, but they will love him anyway, because he is their brother, and nobody gets to be mad at him but them!!

I’m sure little Jaxx didn’t mean to keep his parents up all night, but I seriously doubt if it will be the last time. I hope that starting out this way is not indicative of how Jaxx will be in the future, because as we all know, parents need their sleep too, especially parents of little ones. But then again, I would much rather have a baby keeping me awake than a child out on a date, and running late for curfew. I’m sure Jake and Melanie don’t even want me to think about those days yet, but as we all know, time flies quickly by, and those days will be here before they know it. Until then, Jake and Melanie, enjoy that sweet little boy. He is so precious and we are all very happy for you. Congratulations!!

14142079_10209475203708837_7857732956683990387_n13754156_10209143511880459_2675719430610550590_nMy son-in-law, Kevin Petersen has been in our family for so long that it would be impossible to think of the family without him. Kevin started dating my daughter, Corrie when she turned 15…the age we had decided that she could date. They have been together ever since…a total of 26 years. These days it is difficult for me to imagine our family without Kevin in it. They have been married for 23 years after all. Kevin has always been a stabilizing influence in Corrie’s life. He is sensitive to her needs and emotions, and he has a way of bringing calm to her spirit. They have always looked to each other as a source of strength, humor, and happiness. They were perfect for each other from day one, and that has never changed.
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Kevin and Corrie have two boys, Chris and Josh, and Kevin loves spending guy time with his sons. They love to go fishing, camping, and shooting. They used to love to play paintball, but these days they prefer real guns. I guess that the older the kids get the bigger and more impressive the toys become. Of course, one of the toys Kevin and the boys loved the most was the mud truck Kevin had. I guess there is nothing quite like getting down and dirty…for somebody who likes getting in the mud that is. I think I’ll pass on that sport, but Kevin really liked it. That truck sure came home muddy…ugh!! Nevertheless, times change, and mud trucking cost a lot of money. They decided to get out of it.
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These days, Kevin, Corrie, and the boys spend as many weekends camping as they can possibly manage. Of course, with the boys working now, there are times when it’s just Kevin and Corrie. They love the quiet relaxation of the campgrounds. They don’t have to do anything they don’t want to. They just relax and enjoy the quiet life. As far as they are concerned, summer is for camping. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day, and a great camping weekend!! We love you!!

Giant Nick and little SiaraI have often wondered why it is that short girls tend to date giants. That has pretty much always been the case with my grandniece, Siara Harman, who is all of four feet nine inches tall. I seriously don’t think she has ever dated a guy that was under six feet tall. Maybe she is planning on having kids who have a little height on her, since she has always wanted to be taller. I remember as a child she said she was going to be five feet five inches or taller…but with a dad who is five feet four inches, and a mom who is four feet ten inches tall, I told her that she had better plan on platform shoes, if she was going to reach that height. These days, I think she embraces her shortness, as do most of us short girls, but I think she is hoping for more for her own future children. Dating giants is a pretty good way to make that happen, and since those giants are the ones she is interested in, I guess she will have a good shot at it.

Siara has had a number of changes in her life this year. She became an aunt for the first time, when her Siara and Izabellabrother, Jake Harman, and his fiancé Melanie Price had a little girl, named Izabella Siara Harman. I think it’s really cool that they named their little girl after her Aunty Siara. Stuff just doesn’t get cooler than that. Siara works at a local bank, and is training to be a personal banker. In many ways this job is vastly different from any other one she has had before, because as a college student who is studying for a career in nutrition and physical fitness, most of her jobs have been in retail or hotel services. I think she is really enjoying the day shift though, because like most of us, she is finding out just how nice it is to have evenings and weekends off. Not that Siara sleeps in, mind you.

Siara is a fitness nut, and when I say nut, well I kind of mean crazy!! I love hiking, but I would rather do it in the evening, because I want to sleep a little bit in the mornings. Not Siara, however!! Siara wakes up at 6:00am six days a week so she can go to the gym and do her classes. She loves P90x, Insanity, and Body Forest the catBeast the best, which are all high intensity workouts for maximum results. She’s solid as a rock and her endurance is through the roof. She could literally jog for an hour then go to work. Still, she does love to relax…if you could call it that…with her crazy cat. The cat has a tendency to have random fights with Siara, and I guess you must realize that this is a frienemy relationship. Nevertheless, as a cat lover myself, I can understand, that your cats personality is simply your burden to bear, because once you have a cat…they own you, so get used to it. Siara must understand that too, because the cat is still alive. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Walt & Joann weddingWhen Bob’s aunt, Margee Kountz was born, her oldest sister, my mother-in-law, Joann was dating and planning her wedding to my father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg. He was working in another town, and so they wrote letters back and forth, because they didn’t get to see each other as often as they would like. Of course, they talked about the normal things, like missing each other, and such, but they also talked about the future, and what they wanted it to be.

One thing that has stuck in my mind about those letters, is how my father-in-law felt about his soon to be sister-in-law, Margee. She would only be 4½ months old when they married, and he just thought she was the cutest little baby he had ever seen. He mentioned several times in the letters they wrote back and forth, that when they had a little girl, he wanted his Margeedaughter to be just like Margee. He simply loved his little future sister-in-law so much, that he would have loved to have a dozen or so of them. In the end, he didn’t have a dozen daughters, but he did get four of them, as well as two sons, so I guess his dream of lots of kids, and especially daughters, came true.

Through the years, Margee remained a big part of their lives. She has pretty much always lived near them, and has shared a good portion of their lives. Holidays, birthdays, and barbeques were among the things the families shared, and of course, these always included Grandma and Grandpa Knox, the sister’s parents too. It was the way they kept the families close, and it was a good thing for all of us.

As the years flew by and everyone got busy with their own lives, it might have seemed that we didn’t spend as much time with Margee as we used to, but when we needed her, she was there. She worked for most of her Mom and Margeeadult life, but when her sister, Joann, my mother-in-law, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, began to need someone to stay with her when my father-in-law had appointments, we might have had a big problem, but Margee, by that time retired, agreed to come and sit with her sister. I truly don’t know what we would have done had she not been able to do that. There were times when my father-in-law was in the hospital, and we all worked. There was no way to just find someone to take a week off to go and stay with her, but once again, Margee stepped in and bailed us out. She spent the days, and we took care of the nights. I hope she knows just what a relief that was to us. It was a debt we can never repay. Today is Margee’s birthday. Happy birthday Margee!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Kevin & CorrieWhen my daughter, Corrie and  her husband, Kevin were dating, there came a day when Corrie was at her Grandma Schulenberg’s house to visit. Kevin came by, and they were sitting on the front porch talking. Corrie was sixteen years old at the time, and Kevin was nineteen. It was a nice day, and they were just enjoying each other’s company, when her grandma came out of the house and said that they were going grocery shopping, and asked if Corrie wanted to go along or stay there at the house. Corrie said that they would just stay at the house. Well, apparently that was the wrong answer, because her Grandma said, “No, you are going with us!” That was the end of the story. Corrie went grocery shopping and Kevin went home.

Corrie’s grandma grew up in a different era. Not the one where dates had to have a chaperone, but you didn’t leave a young couple at a house by themselves. I’m not sure what they thought was different about a house as opposed to a car, or any other place where kids could be alone, but she apparently felt that it was her job to make sure nothing happened. Corrie was old enough to drive, and had driven herself over to their house, so she could have just locked the house and told them to go home, but that didn’t seem appropriate to her, so she made Corrie go grocery shopping, and the kids dutifully obeyed her. If you had ever been grocery shopping with my mother-in-law, you know would that it is a three or four hour ordeal, and Corrie left her car at their house, so she was stuck. I went shopping with her once, and that was enough for me, but that is another story.

The kids never told me about that occurrence, until we were coming back from visiting her in Joann Schulenbergthe nursing home a couple of days ago. My mother-in-law had been talking about Kevin a few days earlier, and with his job, it wasn’t easy for him to get the time to go out there with us, but on this day, he was able to come. With her Alzheimer’s Disease, I wanted to make sure that he understood that even though she had been talking about him, she still might not recognize him. When we got there, I asked her if she knew who all her visitors were, and she looked at him and said, “Yes, Kevin.” Kevin has been in the family longer than any of her other grandchildren-in-law, but I was still surprised. I guess that his respectful handling of that awkward moment twenty two years or so ago, made a good impression on her…that and all the other nice things about Kevin.

Riley - 7th gradeBoys go through stages of being tough and being sentimental. A boy who plays the tough guy one minute, might turn right around and bring his mom flowers. My nephew, Riley us one of those kids who is tough as nails in many areas of his life. He has practiced the martial arts, played football, and broken at least one bone every year from age three to age twelve. Riley has had a fractured elbow, two fractured wrists, broken thumb, a concussion, both knee patellae highly extended, fractured forearm, two sprained ankles and now a broken coracoids. You would think he would almost be afraid to move for fear of another break, but Riley is proud of every injury he has had. I suppose it all goes back to that country song about “chicks digging scars” that makes it so Footballcool, but it sure doesn’t do anything for his mom’s sanity.

Nevertheless, as tough as Riley is, when it comes to his little brother, Tucker, he has a very big, soft heart. Tucker is his little brother after all, and as such Riley has placed upon himself, the responsibility of being Tucker’s protector. It doesn’t matter if a protector is really needed all the time or not, as far as Riley is concerned, Tucker is his little brother and he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep him safe and to let him know that his big brother loves him very much.

Riley is in junior high…or middle school, as it is called these days, Great Big Brotherand as happens with all young boys, he is changing in many ways, with girls being the most noticeable. This year, as a 7th grader, he has now decided that it is very necessary to buy a young lady at school a rose. And with that, the world has changed for him and his parents. In fact, things will never be the same, but then that is pretty much normal for boys his age. Riley will continue to change in the years to come. Driving, dating, and before long marriage will all find their way into his life. This is just the beginning. Today is Riley’s 13th birthday. He’s a teenager now, folks…look out!! Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Love that babyEveryone thinks of boys and men being all tough and macho…at least when it comes to emotions, but that really isn’t always the case. In my experience, the fastest way to turn a guy from tough and macho to mush is a girl. Yes, girlfriends and wives will bring that out in a man, but the thing that really melts my heart is watching a man with his daughter or a boy with his baby sister. They just lose all that tough macho stuff, and become pretty much putty in her hands…living the rest of their lives wrapped around her baby finger, because she is quite simply their baby girl…their princess…their little darling…their everything.

The future will bring many frustrating times. She will be rebellious and argumentative. She will fight with them and annoy them. She will want to start dating My Girland going out with friends, leaving her poor daddy to sit up, just waiting for her to get home, and then waking up after a late night to go to work, whether he feels like it or not. Her clothes will cost more than he ever dreamed, because obviously a girl can’t have too many outfits…or shoes. And yet, somehow all that doesn’t really matter, because she is their girl. They feel that protective instinct kick in. She is fragile and tiny, and they want to make sure nothing ever hurts their little girl.

It’s funny how even little boys can tell that their is something very different about this new baby. You have to be more careful and gentle than with a brother. For her…and no one else, they will change their play from rough and tumble to girly things…and Lovin'Sissyyou had better never tell anyone about it! She is simply special. She can make her brother play house…and have fun. She can make him stop running around…and run to pick up her dropped toy, without even trying. All they want to do is make her happy. They will turn into a clown, making little faces at her just to get a smile. And yes, they will hug and kiss this girl…at least for now, because we all know that at some point in a boys life, he figures out that even his sister can have cooties, and then for a time, she might have to realize that she is temporarily contagious. But then again, maybe she always was. Maybe the contagion has just changed a little bit…from “I love my girl” to “Girls have Cooties” and back again, because she will always be their girl.

Little RonWhen you are one of two brothers, in a family of six children, your life is spent with a whole lot of female influence, and with most sisters, that means being bossed around a lot. Now if you happen to be the youngest boy and the youngest child, you usually get a double dose from each sister. Such was the case for my brother-in-law, Ron. My in-laws essentially had to families, even though all the children have the same parents. Marlyce was the oldest, with Debbie following 3 years later. Bob is 17 months younger than Debbie. Then it would be 7 years before Jennifer came along. Brenda would follow 2 years later, and Ron was born 5 years after Brenda. So the older kids were like one family and the younger kids were like another, even though Ron is 5 years younger than Brenda. That put the two brothers 14 years apart.

Now, you would expect that so many years between them would have made it impossible to have a very close relationship, but you would be wrong. I think that by the time Ron came along, Bob had pretty much given up on the idea of having a brother, so when Ron was born, I think Bob decided that the brothers needed to stick together, since it was them against all the women in the family. Bob moved out of the house when he was 19, and Ron was almost 6. It was about this time that I met Bob.

Our dating days were different than some, I suppose, because often times we took Ron along. He was a happy little 6 year old boy, and who wouldn’t be, when his big brother and his brother’s girlfriend allowed him to go along to places like Dairy Queen. He was a Ron nowgood little boy, and the three of us always had a great time. Little kids can be so funny, and we enjoyed his joyful presence. I had never had a brother, so to me,  Ron has always been that brother I never had. And like most siblings, I could almost say that I have known him since birth…although not quite.

I know there may be other brothers who got to do the things Ron did because their big brother liked having them around, but I don’t know of any. Most big brothers just want their kid brother to leave them alone. For Bob and Ron, their relationship then, and now is a blessing to both of them, and therefore very cool. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday little…ok, big now…brother!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When I first met my nephew, Ryan’s future wife, I liked her, but it was early on in their dating and so often you brush those first encounters off. I guess you don’t get too attached, because in dating, there are those that come and go. Soon, however,  it became apparent that Chelsea was the one for Ryan. I think I was surprised at just how fast it became apparent that Ryan was gone on Chelsea. There were a few struggles…such as when she wanted to move back home to Seattle, because we hated to have them go, even though we know that her family felt the same about her living here. Nevertheless, I always liked Chelsea, and that fondness has grown over the years that she has been a part of our family.

I think most of us really come into our own…once we leave our teenaged years behind, and that is certainly what I have seen in Chelsea. She has such a sweet spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. She is a business woman who has worked very hard to bring in a second income for the family while remaining a stay at home mom, which is a top priority with her. She first started out making jewelry, with a flare for the beautiful and sometimes unusual, at Sophisticate Jewelry. She also has a new venture, which is baked goods, at Momma H’s Tasty Eats. I have personally had her muffins, and I highly recommend them.

Chelsea has almost effortlessly worked her way into the hearts of this family, and we all love her very much. She is a good wife and mom, and those two things go a long way toward earning our love and respect, but what warms my heart today is that in the short time that Chelsea has been coming to our church, I have watched her grow spiritually into a strong woman of God. It is a beautiful thing to see. She is in church every week, and many Wednesday nights, literally absorbing the Word of God. Her family is there and little Ethan is always so excited to go to Sunday School, as I’m sure Aurora will be when she is old enough. Chelsea glows with the happiness that can only come from living in the grace of God. Today she did something that many Christians don’t often do. She brought her neighbors to church, and they were excited to come, because she was excited about her church. That is spiritual maturity and continued growth, and that is something to be proud of. Chelsea, I want you to know how much I love and respect you. You are a blessing to our family. I am so proud of you.

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