laugh

10999978_10205901001742846_7702417278737030242_nMy 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 11137138_10205900999062779_2702085605747287943_nmy 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 Alena and Mikewatch 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!!

10577090_10201759940595371_7718936407580100831_nWhen I think of my grand niece, Kaytlyn Griffith, I imagine a little girl of about three years of age. Of course, that is ridiculous, because she was born in 2008, not 2012. Kaytlyn has a beautiful smile, and a curious nature. Kaytlyn is the youngest daughter of my niece, Susan and her husband, Josh, and she went behind my back and grew to be a beautiful seven year old first grader. School might be a bit more lonely this year, because her big sister, Jala is in middle school this year, but I think she will adapt just fine. Of course, I don’t get to see her very much, since she lives in Powell, but her Aunt Machelle has kept me updated a little bit.

Kaytlyn is a goofy girl who loves to make funny faces and say goofy things. She is also very interested in they way people laugh. She finds that quite funny. I can agree with that, since I love to listen to the different ways that people laugh. Sometimes…especially for kids, the different ways people laugh can seem especially funny. And they can laugh about it…unlike adults sometimes…who are worried about offending people.

A while back, Kaytlyn was quite sick, and it was a horrible experience. She spent a few days in the hospital, and if she is like me, she doesn’t ever want to go back. This year, as flu season approached, Kaytlyn became somewhat concerned about catching the flu. I told her Aunt Machelle, that I can totally understand that, given what she went through before.

In reality, Kaytlyn is an all around sweetheart and very good girl. She has a seriously funny sense of humor, and will do just about any goofy thing to make people laugh. I recently saw a video of her, and I don’t know if anyone else was watching her at the time, but I know that I 10269652_10201254514080024_7721606138892767489_nlaughed and laughed. I suppose that most seven year olds are pretty silly…most of the time, and I’m here to tell you that Kaytlyn is no exception to that rule. A goofier girl there never was.

As Kaytlyn continues with her academic career, I know that she will be a good student, because she is as smart as a whip. From what I can see, she loves school, and all the activities that go with it. Last year was especially fun for her, when she got to be a tight rope walker in the Kindergarten Circus. I can tell that she really loved that. But then, Kaytlyn loves doing things that make her look pretty too. Today is Kaytlyn’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageWhen Bob and I went to Forsyth, Montana every summer, it was to connect with his family members who lived too far away the see every day. Each had their own special way of doing things, and their own personality. So many memories about those days stand out in my mind, but today is about Bob’s uncle, Eddie Hein. Eddie was and still is a hard working man with a gentle way about him. I have always enjoyed the visits that we had to his home, and his wife Pearl was always so sweet too. If you ever left their home hungry, it was your own fault. They loved entertaining, and Pearl is an amazing cook.

Eddie and Pearl were also very busy people. In addition to their jobs, they helped to care for some of Pearl’s family members. Having done that, I know that it is a big job, filled with emotions. You alsoWalt & Eddie have to have the help and support of your spouse, and I know that Pearl was always able to count on Eddie to be there for her. For a caregiver that is a vital thing. Caregiving is a stressful thing anyway and when your spouse is making things more difficult at home, that adds a terribly large amount of stress. Eddie didn’t do that to Pearl. And that has made all the difference.

Eddie has always been serious family man. His family was always his first priority. I remember the garden he and Pearl had, and the lovely addition he put on their house to provide some much needed space. He was always very handy, and he could build just about anything he put his mind to. He spent a lot of time in his shop working of projects he set himself to do. He always had something going on, and pretty much always had a way to fix whatever needed fixing. And whether you are traveling or not, that is a handy person to have We can fix that right nowaround. But, that was just Eddie. He was always willing to help someone when it was needed.

There are many things that have always endeared Eddie to me and my family, but probably the biggest one, was his great sense of humor. Eddie loved a good laugh and a good joke, and he has a great laugh. I always loved the ones he pulled on Bob…like the time he pretended to give Bob a buzz cut. I’m pretty sure Bob knew the sheers weren’t plugged in, but maybe he didn’t. Either way, Bob did his best to protect his long hair…at least for a few more months. Today is Eddie’s birthday. Happy birthday Eddie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageAs I read through the posts of my various friends and family members on Facebook, I see mostly happy people who deal with occasional down days or irritated thoughts, but among those people, one person stands out as being always positive, always happy, and always uplifting. That person is my niece, Kellie Hadlock. You might say that anyone can post positive things, but still have negative thoughts and such, but I have known Kellie all of her life, and I have never met anyone as genuinely happy as she is. I believe she is truly filled with the joy of The Lord.

Kellie’s passion is music ministry, and she is amazing at it. She has a beautiful voice and her songs come from her heart. I think that to sing such beautiful songs about the love of our God, you have to have such a deep relationship with Him, that His joy simply flows out of you. That’s what happens with Kellie when she sings.

But, Kellie’s joy doesn’t stop there. Every aspect of her life is accompanied with a huge smile. Most people don’t smile for even a quarter of their lives, but I think Kellie probably smiles for 90% of hers…at least. There doesn’t seem to be anything that upsets her happy nature. Kellie puts the joy of The Lord first on her to do list every day, and her posts on Facebook show that. She never posts image Continue reading

Toothless GirlWhen we knew Audrianna Masterson was due around July 7, 2007, we never expected that she would manage to arrive on that special day of that year. Audrianna is the youngest daughter of my nephew Rob Masterson and his wife, Dustie, and she is my sister, Cheryl’s granddaughter. We were so surprised when little Audrianna…Anna, as she has been nicknamed…arrived on that very special date…07-07-07. Audrianna was a quiet, soft hearted little girl, and has remained so for all of her life…to this point, anyway. She is very soft spoken, especially around those she doesn’t know well. I think that a lot of time, Anna is the type of person who is listening and thinking things through, before she opens up to a certain person or situation. Don’t get the wrong idea about little Anna though, because she has quite the sense of humor, and loves to joke and goof off with her siblings. She has an amazing smile and a great laugh. She brings a sparkle to any The Sister Thingsituation, when she laughs.

Being the youngest of four children in the family, Audrianna has a lot of people to look to for leadership, moral support, and of course, any mischief. She loves spending sister time with her sister, Raelynn, doing all the girly things that sisters do, but she also loves all the rough and tumble play that her brother, Matthew likes to do. I think there is a little bit of girly, and a little bit of tomboy in Miss Anna. That may or may not last, but I can see her as always being the kind of girl who can keep up with the boys, but still clean up into a really pretty girl, who will take their breath away. Audrianna has these soft pretty eyes, that the guys could lose themselves in quite easily, and she has a soft heart to match, but I still think she won’t let herself be pushed around either. These days find Anna looking a little toothless, but it wasn’t due to fights. She lost them the same way most of us do, and then waited for the tooth fairy, of course. I’m sure her real plan in this first picture was to show everyone that they were missing, because that is always a cool thing to do. It makes those kids feel so Jumping Jacksgrown up, because they have watched their siblings lose teeth before them. It makes them feel like they are getting big like their brother or sister…and they are, whether we like it or not.

This particular birthday is a special one for Audrianna, because it is her Golden Birthday. That is when you are the same age as the date you were born on. Since Anna was born on July 7, and is 7 years old this year, she definitely qualifies. For her, I think this one is even more special, because it is exactly 7 years after her 07-07-07 birthday. How cool is that? So, today is Anna’s 7th birthday. Happy Golden Birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Andrea Renae Beach editedWhen my niece, Andrea was a little girl, she was so cheerful. She loved to laugh and joke. She loved it when her grandparents and other family members came to visit her family in Washington. She would always get so excited when company was there. When my sisters and I went to visit Caryl and her family one year, when Warren, Andrea’s dad was on sea duty in the Navy, the house became wall to wall beds, and Andrea was so excited to come out in the mornings and greet everyone. The day seemed perfect to her, because there were so many aunts in the house. I suppose having a lot of aunts in your house at one time might mean lots of attention, and really, what kid doesn’t want lots of attention. And what better kind of attention is there than the special attention of having four aunts in your house at one time. Of course, Andrea did have to go to school for part of that visit, but she did get to spend a lot of time with us. We all had such a good time.

It was always hard for Andrea when family had to leave to go home. She didn’t get to see any of us much, and that was really hard. Of course, we knew how she felt, because we felt the same way every time Andrea’s family had to go home after a visit. It is a tearing situation. Loving family members from afar creates a lonely kind of a feeling. Holidays are smaller affairs, because you live too far away to be there with the rest of the family very much. That was hard for Andrea, because she heard about all the fun the rest of the cousins had at the big gatherings. Of course, she knew that it could not be helped, and that her family loves her, but it is still hard for a little girl to understand why they can’t come for Christmas every year. Still, her parents made their holidays fun too, and made their own traditions. That’s how it works when you live far away from family. And those traditions are just as fun as the ones the rest of the family has, just different…just your own.

I think living far away from family, can often bring you very close to your siblings. Andrea and Andrea & Topherher younger brother, Allen have always been good friends. Oh they had their little tiffs, just like any other siblings, but they grew close over the years. With Allen in the Navy and stationed in Japan now, I’m sure that Andrea feels a twinge of loneliness whenever her brother comes to mind, but she will always know that no matter how far apart they are, he will always be her brother, and he will always love her. New traditions are always a part of life, and now with her son, Topher to think about, I’m sure Andrea is making her own traditions to build memories for him. Today is Andrea’s birthday. Though she is still a ways away I hope that she knows that we are thinking of her today and hoping it is a great day. Happy birthday Andrea!! We love you!!

Larry and ColleneMy Uncle Larry was well known to his family and his friends for being a real joker. He loved to tell jokes and make people laugh. He was also very handy with tools. He loved working on all kinds of things, from cars to carpentry. One time he was looking for one of his tools…specifically, his hammer, and couldn’t find it. He looked everywhere, and finally, when he could think of no other way to find it, he sat down on the floor by the cat, and asked, “Kitty…Whar’s the Hommer?” It was said in a joking way, but apparently, the kitty knew more than Uncle Larry expected. Of course, the kitty didn’t really know anything, but when Uncle Larry looked down…there beneath in a crack in the floorboards, was the hammer. I’m sure it was a surprise to Uncle Larry, because he didn’t think he would find it, but in a moment of resignation,  he found it because  of a silly question.

Uncle Larry was my mom’s best friend as a child. Just two years older than she was, they did a lot of things together. One time, Uncle Larry bought an old car…a junker. He Uncle Larry in the militaryworked on the car, fixing it up, with great plans for it in the future. That morning, he decided to take the car to school, and give his sister, Collene, my mother a ride while he was at it. They figured out pretty quickly that the brakes on the car probably needed more help than the engine had needed. Now they were driving down the road, had no way to stop. For me, this story brought visions of Fred Flintstone putting his heels to the pavement in an effort to stop quickly. Of course, reality is much different. According to my mom, her brother pulled off an amazing feat…swerving around every obstacle until he could finally get the car slowed down enough to coast to a stop. I can imagine that Uncle Larry was extremely relieved that he and his sister were not going to be in an accident. Accidents can be so scary, and it doesn’t take much of an impact to cause injury. I’m sure that my Uncle Larry was very thankful,  but my mom was very proud of him. His driving was amazing according to her.

When Uncle Larry was older, he decided to go to work in Bemidji, Minnesota in a mine there. With World War II going on at the same time, the family found out that he had been drafted. They had no way to contact him, so it was decided that my mom, and her fiancé, my dad, and Dad’sUncle Larry sister, Ruth would drive up to Bemidji to let him know that he had to come home, and prepare to go to fight in the war. They went up there, but couldn’t find him right away. He had gone into town. Eventually they found him and headed back home to Casper, so that he could go and fight for his country. I’m sure that was a bittersweet trip for my mom, who was now unsure of his future. Thankfully, Uncle Larry came home from the war, and went on to become the wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and uncle that he was to us, as well as the great brother and son he had always been. Today Uncle Larry would have been 80 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry.  We love and miss  you very much.

Grandma Spencer and Shirley bMy cousin Shirley Wolfe Cameron, commented on a story I wrote a couple of days ago, and while this story and that one really have very little to do with each other, her comment sparked a little memory for me. My story was on my great grandmother, Henriette Schumacher’s debilitating arthritis, but it reminded Shirley of our grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer when she was in a wheelchair with debilitating arthritis. Shirley is Grandma’s first granddaughter, and while she is not the oldest grandchild, she was always very close to Grandma. Grandma lived with the Wolfe family for many years, and so the two of them shared many good times, and Shirley has many great memories of those times, and of her grandma. They are memories that most of us younger grandchildren wish we had too. I don’t remember my grandmother at all, because she died when I was just three months old, but in some ways, I really think I must be a bit like her…especially when it comes to my grandchildren.

Shirley told me of the times when she was in trouble with her mother, my aunt, Ruth Spencer Wolfe. She said she would run in to Grandma, yelling, “Grandma, Grandma, Grandma!!” Then she would climb up in Grandma’s lap a wait for her mother to come in after her. Grandma was always a bit of a peacemaker, and like me, she hated to see her grandchildren being disciplined. As grandmothers, we know they have to be disciplined…otherwise, they turn out pretty bratty, but it still breaks our hearts that our precious little babies have to get punished. Unfortunately, their parents don’t always like our soft hearted ways. They think that Grandma is a pushover…and, really we are. So, our pushover Grandma, would lift Shirley up into her lap and make a game of protecting Shirley from her mom’s punishment. Aunt Ruth got frustrated during those little episodes, like most parents would, but most of the time, in the end, she laughed along with her mother and her daughter, because she knew that this battle was lost.

My grandchildren were totally my weakness too. I was a fairly strict disciplinarian with my daughters, Corrie and Amy, but when it came to the grandkids, I was a pushover. Everyone knew it, from the grandkids to their parents, and even my parents and sisters. Even if the kids did something wrong when they stayed with me, their parents never knew it, because I didn’t want them to get into trouble. Thankfully, they are good kids, and they don’t take serious advantage of their grandma…or maybe they do, and I am too much of a pushover to realize it. My status as a pushover became a family joke of sorts too. The kids always knew that if Bob and I went out of town, we were going to bring them something back. They have had a variety of toys, candy, souvenirs, and t-shirts, including one of my favorite t-shirts. It was the one that went something like, “When all else fails…Call 1-800-Grandma.”
My grandkids when they were little
We have laughed at and used that saying many times over the years, and while I can’t say for sure that they ever really told on their parents, they did do their best to spend the night often. Maybe their parents were grouchy, and they wanted to go spend time with the pushover, or maybe they just liked to spend the might with their grandma, I can’t say for sure. One thing I can say for sure, however, is that kids have been calling 1-800-Grandma in one way or another, for as long as grandmothers have existed. There is simply no way for a mother who was a good parent to their own kids, not to relax and realize that you don’t always have to take life so seriously with your grandchildren.

Kellie Hadlock (2)My niece, Kellie is one of the happiest, most positive people I have ever met…in fact, I can’t recall a time when she wasn’t happy. Kellie is one of those people who look for happiness where ever she goes, and when you look for happiness, I believe you will always find it. She doesn’t let the little problems in life get her down. Many of us could learn something from Kellie’s happiness, because it isn’t that no negative things ever happens in her life, but rather what she chooses to do with it that makes her life happy. I love to hear Kellie laugh, because when she does, you are about to laugh too. That’s just the way it is. You can’t be around Kellie when she is laughing and not laugh too. Her laugh is the most contagious laugh I have ever heard.
Petey
Kellie is such a free spirit. She knows what she likes, and that’s what she does. Her home reflects her brightly colored tastes. Nothing dreary can exist in Kellie’s place, because that just doesn’t fit in her joy, joy, joy…down in my heart style. If you go to Kellie’s house, you will find it bright and cheery…just like her, but be aware that she has a bird. I don’t know how much Petey is loose in the house, but I think that if Kellie is there, Petey is free to roam. And maybe Petey isn’t the kind of bird who likes to dive bomb people, but many birds are. I do know that Petey likes to nap on Kellie’s shoulder. Why should he be different? Lots of people love to be around Kellie…so you can’t blame him.

Family is the biggest thing in Kellie’s life. She is very close to her parents, my sister, Allyn and Kellie and the kidsher husband Chris, sisters, Jessi and Lindsay, sister-in-law, Chelsea, brother, Ryan, brothers-in-law, Jason and Shannon, and of course, her nephew, Ethan, and niece, Aurora. She loves taking pictures with all of them, to keep as memories of the great times they have had. She loves spending time up on the mountain at her parents place there, just hanging around by the campfire. In Kellie’s life, the only thing more important than her family is her Lord. Kellie loves music ministry, and is an amazing singer, and forever an uplifting person. We are all very blessed to have Kellie in our lives. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Chris PetersenChris in bootsYears before you arrived, I already knew that I wanted to be a grandma. It had been so long since this family had a baby in it, and sometimes a mother’s arms long to hold their grandchildren long before they have any. We were so excited when we knew that you were on your way. The waiting seemed endless, but finally the day came when we knew the time of your arrival was here. I loved you from the moment I first saw you, at the very moment of your birth. You were our first grandchild, and you were a boy…something new to Grandpa and me, and a bit of a culture shock as it turned out, but an exciting change for us, nevertheless.

I look back now, on the years that have past and reminisce about how wonderful it was to have you in our lives. You were our smiley boy. You came up with the funniest, most precious faces. You smiled and laughed with your whole face…and you smiled and laughed often. You loved climbing into clothes baskets, after you threw out all the clothes, of course. Your mom might find you hiding under a table, in the closet, or behind the door. Any place would work, just as long as you could pop out and play peek-a-boo. We never knew where you would be the next time, so you kept us on our toes. I loved watching your little face light up, whenever we found your hiding places. You got so excited!! Your goal was always to follow in your daddy’s footsteps…as well as his boots, as often as your got the chance. It didn’t matter to you, where he was going, because that was where you wanted to go too. You two are so much alike. And, I loved the way you made all the animal sounds perfectly. You knew them by heart, and you were so proud of your new found ability.

The years have gone by so fast, and I can’t believe that we have already arrived at your 18th birthday. Soon you will be heading off to Sheridan to go to Culinary School, and before we know it you will we the proud owner of your own restaurant. You have shown such great skill and imagination is your culinary arts, and I can’t say that I am surprised, because you have always be an imaginative guy. We are so proud of all your hard work and we know you will be a great success in the restaurant business. My only regret is that the years have gone by so fast, and your childhood is over now. While you have been excitedly counting down the days, I have found myself trying to put the brakes on the passage of time, but that cannot be done.

To each of us comes one childhood, and when it is over, it is simply over. There is no going back, even though many of us wish we could sometimes. Gone now is the little smiley boy, and in his place stands a man, ready to take on the world. While my heart aches just a little bit, because you are going to be going away to college, I know that I can’t stand in your way. Papa and ChristopherChristopher and meI also know that you will take with you all the memories and the good teachings you have received in your childhood. You make us so proud as you start this new journey, and all I ask is that you don’t forget your way home, because we, your family will be looking forward to each and every time you are back with us. Today is your 18th birthday. Happy birthday Christopher!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you very much!!

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