grand niece

My grand niece, Mackenzie Moore has been really enjoying the extra time Covid-19 has given her with her daddy, my nephew, Shannon Moore. Having her daddy at home has given him time to do some very cool things around the house, including Mackenzie’s favorite…her bedroom redecorating. She now has a very cool multi-colored polka-dot wall. She also has some great furniture, and other bling. Of course, her mommy, my niece, Lindsay Moore helped too. Having her daddy home has been awesome in many ways. The two of them have gone for rides on the moped too, and Mackenzie thinks that’s great. Of course, Mackenzie thinks anything and everything that has to do with her daddy is great. He is Mackenzie’s hero. They have also been swimming as much as they can, before the colder fall weather kicks in.

The family has recently gone camping with Lindsay’s siblings, Jessie and Jason Sawdon, Ryan and Chelsea Hadlock, and Kellie Hadlock; and Mackenzie’s cousins, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, and Adelaide Sawdon. Since Mackenzie doesn’t have any siblings yet, and her family lives 2½ hours from the rest of the cousins, camping was a wonderful way to give the kids all some cousin-time. Mackenzie also has a cousin on her daddy’s side named Khloe, and she loves to see her and talk to her on the phone as often as she can. Cousins are truly a child’s first friends, and ultimately some of their best friends. Some of Mackenzie’s favorite people on the planet are her grandparents Allyn and Chris Hadlock, and Mary and TJ Moore. With the extra time off, Lindsay and Shannon have been able to make trips to Casper for visits, and Mary and TJ came to Laramie to celebrate her birthday. There is really nothing better than grandparent time for a kid. Grandparents are always the greatest thing since parents.

Mackenzie is a very imaginative girl…living in her own little world. She has dolls, but sometimes would rather use other things as “babies. She is always pretending to take care of her babies…which are usually something like a sippy cup, or a ball, or an ice cream cone. Mackenzie pushes these things around in a stroller, and tucks them into bed…which is usually a kitchen towel. Her mom tells me she loves to sing, ring, and loves JESUS! Today is Mackenzie’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Without a doubt, the greatest thing to happen to a person in life is becoming a parent. That is the life change that happened to my grand-niece, Siara Olsen and her husband, Nick on October 28, 2019. Now, Siara is celebrating her first birthday since becoming “Mommy” to little Alec Todd Olsen. It is so hard to believe that Siara could be a mom already, and yet, she has stepped into the role as naturally as if she had been a mom for years. Watching her hold her baby puts a smile on my face, and the faces of all her family too. She just looks so content…and, so does Alec. There is nothing like having a baby to snuggle with, to bring home just how precious life is.

Siara is a bubbly, sweet girl who is very capable in her job at Platte Valley Bank, here is Casper, Wyoming, where she works as a personal banker. I don’t think there is one customer at the bank who doesn’t know Siara by the smile on her face and her sweet personality. Of course, going back to work after giving birth to Alec wasn’t easy, as any mother who worked, knows well. I felt so bad for her, because I know how short maternity leave is, when it comes right down to it. Eight weeks or whatever amount each mother has, seems like a long time…if you are waiting for your baby’s birth!! Once your baby has arrived, eight weeks is nothing. It’s over almost in an instant, and leaving your child in daycare, even if you know the people well, is heart wrenching. Eventually thought, you get used to it, and while you miss your baby terribly, you begin to look forward to the end of your work day, when you will be reunited with that sweet bundle of joy. Then, when you pick him up from daycare, your whole world is smiling again. And then, Siara and Nick have the whole evening to enjoy their precious little son, who keeps them smiling with his sweet little face, filled with smiles. The evenings are just perfect for this young family.

Now that little Alec is here, life for Siara and Nick is always looking up. I think that most parents can relate to the tremendous joy they feel with each new day. With each smile, each landmark, each passing year, and each new sibling that comes along after Alec, life will continue to get better and better for them. I am so happy for Siara, as she celebrates her first birthday as a mommy, and for Nick too, as he celebrates his family. The future is bright for both of them, and I look forward to watching little Alec grow up and be such a great blessing to his parents and his family. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday “Mommy” Siara. Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Reagan Parmely is the eldest child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. She is a sweet little mommy’s helper, who loves being the big sister to her siblings, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. Reagan is very much her momma’s girl. She loves horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats. And every other animal you might think of. She even likes snakes…which is where I have to draw the line. Of course, Reagan is smart about snakes. She makes sure they are ok to pick up, before she touches them.

A great big 1st grader this year, I find myself thinking that Reagan is growing up way too fast. She is starting to get her own sense of style. This year, she decided that she wanted a shorter hair style, and the resulting pixie cut is darling. Reagan wanted an easy going, out of the way style and she is very happy with the result. Of course, her mom wanted to cry a bit, but it will grow back…if Reagan ever wants it long again. Either way, she is a cutie and that’s all that matters.

Reagan, Hattie, and their mom love to go riding together, and I guess their daddy must be the babysitter for the younger kids, or maybe Grandma and Grandpa. Those rides on the horses give the three of them a little girl-time. That’s always nice for the older children to have some time with their parents, one-on-one so to speak. Reagan is growing into such a great girl. She is smart and helpful. She love to teach her younger siblings things and in general hang out with her best little friends. That learn about the farm animals, and about bringing baby animals into the world. And then how to care for them when they are hear. And all that is when she is not is school, which she loves too. I think Reagan is going to go far in her life. She has so much potential. Today is Reagan’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It is so hard for me to believe that my grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is 8 years old today. It seems like just yesterday that she arrived…such a sweet, pretty little baby girl. She was given the name of her mother, Chelsea Hadlock’s dreams…Aurora. The name Aurora means “Dawn” or “Sunrise,” and either one fits Aurora, because she has a sunshiny personality. She loves hanging out with friends, cousins, and her brother, Ethan. As siblings go, these two are very close. Ethan is protective of his sister, but doesn’t mind teasing her a bit either. Aurora can take it though, because they have grown up in a family of teasers, a long line of them really, dating back at least four generations.

Aurora is a smart little girl, who does well in school. She especially loves to read and make art. She also comes from a long line of musicians, dating back at least four generations, and she really loves to play the guitar with her dad and grandpa. I wish she could have played with her great grandpa, my dad, Allen Spencer, because he would have just loved having a little great granddaughter who could play the guitar. His own daughters weren’t really so inclined, with the exception of Aurora’s grandma, Allyn Hadlock, who played the violin, as did our dad.

Very soon, Aurora and her family are going to be moving into a bigger house. My sister and her husband, Chris, Aurora’s grandparents are building a new home in the country, and Aurora’s parents are going to buy their current home. It is bigger, and will provide them with all the home they need for the rest of their lives. Aurora is very excited about the move, as is her brother, and it can’t come soon enough. The kids know that their grandparents house isn’t done yet, and they know that they will have to move when their old house is sold. So they have asked where their grandparents are going to live when they move into the house. Allyn laughed and said, “With you!!” The kids hadn’t thought of that, but they liked the idea. They love to spend the night over there, so now their grandparents can spend the night with them for a change. It’s an exciting time for Aurora. Today is Aurora’s birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I don’t think my grand-niece, Jadyn Mortensen plans to be a rodeo rider or an equestrian for a living, but she definitely is good at it as a hobby, or as her sport of choice. Jadyn has loved horses since she was just a little girl, and as she grew, her talent with them really began to shine. She really loves horses, and they respond to her by doing their very best. I don’t know what her future plans are, but she could be a great veterinarian or veterinary assistant.

I’m getting ahead of myself, and for that matter her life. Right now, Jadyn’s life centers around a few things…family, school, and horses, with a new one on the horizon, I’m sure…learning to drive. These things fall in no particular order that I’m aware of…with the exception of her number one priority…family. Jadyn is friends with both of her parents…Amanda and Sean. The family does lots of things together, as well as with friends, and Jadyn is never left out. And she still gets plenty of time to practice riding for her competitions. Anyone who thinks that champion riding just comes naturally, doesn’t know anything about it. It takes hard work and diligence. You must be dedicated to becoming a champion in order to accomplish your goals. That describes Jadyn perfectly…dedicated!!

It is so hard for me to believe that little tiny Jadyn is now 15 years old. I remember when she was born. And now her childhood years are behind her, because she is a young woman, who has a keen sense of self, and just exactly what she wants out of life. Jadyn recently competed again, and did extremely well. As her mom says, she’s living proof that hard work pays off. Jadyn has several championships to her credit, and I’m sure that many more will follow, because Jadyn does work hard and her horses work hard for her. There is a mutual love that they have for each other, and when they are competing, it is like watching a symphony…everything is in sync. Jadyn is growing into a beautiful young lady, with a heart of gold, and everyone in the family is very proud of her accomplishments. Today this girl turns 15 years old. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

It is so hard to believe that another year has passed since my grand niece, Laila Spethman was born, back in 2010. I suppose the years would have been less shocking if we had been able to watch Laila grow up, but that was not to be, because just 18 days later, Laila went to Heaven, and our hearts were broken. This year, Laila would have turned 8, and she would have known her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, as well as her little sister Aleesia. It’s hard and yet pretty easy to imagine what Laila might have been like today. My guess is that she and her little sister would have been two of a kind. While it would have been Laila teaching Aleesia how to be the goofy little girl they both would have been, I have to think that Aleesia would have taught Laila a thing or two as well. The two little girls, younger sisters of three brothers, would have grown up much like Aleesia has…well able to handle life as a girl with older brothers…part Tomboy and part Princess.

It always makes me sad that Laila never got the chance to become that little girl who was a perfect mix…just like her little sister. Instead, Laila will always be the little princess and sleeping beauty, waiting in Heaven for the day when we all meet her there and get to know her. Until then, she is missed very much, and loved so much. I would say that she was loved more than she could know, but I think she knows now. And while she loves us all too, right now she is busy getting to know her grandparents and great grandparents who are in Heaven with her. And there is no sadness there, because Laila knows that we will all be together again in Heaven, and that this time apart is like a drop in a bucket. While we view the years as long and many, she sees them as only seconds ago. Today would have been Laila’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Lila. We love and miss you very much.

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the middle child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. Hattie and her siblings are being raised on a little farm outside of Casper, Wyoming. I am amazed at how well Hattie and her siblings get along with the animals in their care. Children are not always careful with animals, but those who are raised around them, have a heart for their animals. Hattie is a soft-hearted girl anyway, and I think her animals know that about her.

Hattie and her siblings have a trampoline, and they love spending time on it. Most of us would just love to have the energy to jump on a trampoline for hours at a time, but lets face it, most of us would get tired after 5 minutes. It is the common problem that adults have when it comes to kids, and their endless energy. Of course, kids get lots of sleep with naps and all, and I don’t know how well Hattie naps, or anything, but if sleep has anything to do with her energy level, I would say she naps or sleeps pretty well.

Having a big sister, Hattie had a helping hand in learning all the cool things to do around their place. Reagan, Hattie’s sister, has taught Hattie and their little brother, Bowen many things about life on the farm. Things like milking the goats, or just playing with the goats, in general. The girls totally love the goats…especially when they are babies, and Bowen is quickly becoming a big help with the animals too.

Life on the farm is not only active, but is usually spent mostly outdoors. We hear about kids today being couch potatoes, but Hattie and her siblings don’t have time for that much. They are always busy doing things out in the yard or with the animals. Cleaning out the pens and feeding the animals are high on the priority list, and they like that very much. Animals depend on their owners to take care of them, and the Parmely kids are great animal owners. Their parents are proud of all the help their kids give them in running the little farm. Hattie is a big part of that, and will be an even bigger part of it as she grows. Today is Hattie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is growing up so fast. She is a girl of many talents. Of course, having a big brother, Ethan, who loves his sister and hangs out with with her, helps Aurora to diversify in her choices of activities. Ethan has taught her to play Minecraft,and they play together. Also,having a big brother who likes football has made Aurora like the game too. So it seemed only logical for her to decide to sign up for Flag Football. I know that she will have a great time with that. She is athletic,and while she has a girly side, there is a little of a tomboy in her too.

Aurora still loves to read and has since the day she learned how. Reading has always been a big part of her life. Her parents and grandparents read to her, as did her big brother. Books have long been a highlight of Aurora’s life. She also likes art…a trait that she gets from her mother, who is very crafty. They love to make beautiful things for their home, and as in her mother’s case, selling them. I don’t think it will be very long before Aurora’s mom can include some of her artwork for sale too.

Something I was not aware of is that Aurora is actually a chip off the old block…or as in her case, two blocks…her dad, Ryan Hadlock and her grandpa, Chris Hadlock. Both of the men play the guitar, and now I have learned that Aurora plays too. She is learning from them, and loves to have jam sessions as a threesome. Really, that is pretty impressive for a 7 year old girl. Of course, when you look back in her genealogical line, she comes from a long line of guitar players, that include her great grandpa, Allen Lewis Spencer, and 2nd great grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer. With all that talent (and maybe more for all I know) in her lineage, it’s no wonder that Aurora is a guitar player at the tender age of 7 years. I think it is sad that her other grandpa’s didn’t get a chance to jam with her too, but maybe they can in Heaven when we all get there.

Aurora is such a sweet little girl who is always smiling. She is getting ready to start 2nd grade this year, and I know she will do very well, because she is a good student who loves to learn new things. She has enjoyed her summer, and has done some great things, including a family vacation to Disneyland, where she met lots of Disney characters, and especially loved the rides…if I know her. But then, the princesses and mermaids were probably highlights too. Aurora has had a great year, and I know the coming year will be even better. Today is Aurora’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For most of the time I have been writing about my grand-niece, Katie Balcerzak, my stories have been centered around her love of children and her work at the Montessori school, her happy marriage to my grand-nephew, Keifer, and her desire for a family, but this year is simply different, because this year is all about the baby. The baby, who goes by the name of Reece Victoria Balcerzak, has completely taken over her parents’ hearts. Their whole life centers around her, and for good reason, because Reese is a sweet, smiley little girl with smiling eyes to match her beautiful smile. She is a happy baby, and that makes her mommy so happy. For Katie, life is complete… at least until they decide to have another baby, at which time, they will wonder how they ever could have been a family of three, because they will have two babies to love then.

These days, Katie spends her free time…the time when she isn’t taking care of home and baby…taking pictures of her little gem, and who can blame her, because Reece is a total cutie. Really, all Katie has ever wanted was to be a mom, and she is such a great mom, so that in itself is success. Of course, as we all know, being the mom of a baby does have its challenges too. Babies get crabby when they are hungry, wet, teething, and tired…among other things. Sometimes, they are just in a crabby mood, and why should they be different.we all get crabby sometimes. Nevertheless, even if Reece is crabby, her mommy loves her bunches, and usually knows how to fix it. Katie prides herself in the care she gives Reece, and wants to be the best mommy she can be…I mean, which of us moms don’t want that.

Some of the things that Katie has learned in her journey from new mommy to seasoned professional,have been kind of funny, or should I say her sense of humor was clearly showing, because she points out the long list of today’s parenting Dos and Don’ts List, and how according to these “professionals” just how amazing it is that yesterday’s generation ever survived their parents. When you read the list, you find yourself laughing, because no parent could possibly live up to that. At first glance, you might think she was serious, but then you read the rest of it, and find out that she was really being funny. The only aren’t who would really try to follow that list would be one that will soon find themselves trying to avoid the nut house!! Thankfully, Katie has seen through the craziness, and focuses more on the simple ways to be a good parent and raise a happy, healthy, child. Today is Katie’s birthday, and the first one she has spent as a mother. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Yesterday, August 3, 2018, at precisely 7:45am, Miss Elliott Michelle Stevens made her grand entrance into the world. Elliott, who will likely be nicknamed El or Elli, is the daughter and first child of my nephew, Garrett Stevens and his lovely wife, Kayla Smiley Stevens. Elliott is the first grandchild on both sides of their families, and so will be “spoiled” by grandmothers, Alena Stevens and Lynnette Smiley, as well as grandfathers, Mike Stevens and Wes Smiley. She also has three aunts, Michelle Stevens, Lacey Stevens, and Lexi Smiley, who all became aunts the moment Elliot arrived. Elliot has changed a lot of lives, and all she did was to be born. It was a big job, but Elliott was up to the task.

Elliott is a pretty little girl, who likes to suck her thumb a little. Time will tell if that becomes a habit. She is a good baby, who doesn’t seem to cry much. She will find her voice, I’m sure, but for now, she is just relaxing and enjoying her new world and all the loving grandparents and great grandmother she has found there. Little does she know that there are many other family members who are waiting excitedly to meet her too. She has been born into a much larger family than she could possibly imagine, but those meetings will come in time. For now, she is just enjoying a few family members, and especially her parents, who are still marveling at the little blessing they have been given. And while Kayla and Garrett have become something their siblings are not…parents, their siblings have also become something they are not…aunts.

Time will tell who little Elliott will look like, and we all see similarities between her and her family members, but she will change quite a lot over the next few months and more similarities will begin to show. We will see an expression here, a facial shape there, and hair color will also begin to tell the tale. As she finds her voice, we might discover that she laughs like one person, or her voice sounds like another…it might even be an aunt or grandmother…or even a great aunt or uncle. Babies are amazing that way. They are created by God from the traits He ordains in their family DNA to be the perfect little person, unique and yet similar. I can’t wait to see who little Elliott Michelle will resemble as she grows. No matter who it is, she will be beautiful, just as she is right now, because she comes from two beautiful parents. Welcome to the world, Elliott Michelle, and to our family. We love you so much already!!

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