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312859_10150266534667237_4531289_nThe high school years are hard on everyone, but sometimes I think that the girls have the rougher time. With girls, every break-up…every friendship ended…every sad moment, feels like the end of the world. As girls get older, they try not to go to their parents with every little thing, but somehow it seems like the things they should go to their parents about, are the things they don’t. Such was the case with my grand niece, Christina Masterson. One day, after school…with the break-up with the first real boyfriend she had, fresh on her mind, Christina came in and sat down on the couch. Her dad, my nephew, Rob Masterson took one look at his oldest daughter, and asked, “What’s 67978_10151728614077237_1768628102_nwrong?” Christina tried not to go into detail, but told her dad that she and her boyfriend had broken up. Rob sat down beside her and said, “You will always deserve better, no matter who you are with.” Basically, he told Christina two things that day. The first, that in his eyes, no man would ever be good enough for her, which Christina has always felt she needed to hear at that moment. The second, that he would always be there for her.

I think that is Rob’s motto in many ways and with all of the people he loves. I’ll always be there for you. It is a motto that he has applied to a number of people in Rob’s life. His younger three children are not at the “high school break-up stage” yet, but with the little issues they have dealt with so far, that is the same message Rob has conveyed to them. “You can always come to me…with anything. I’ll always be there for you.”

Cheryl and familyMy sister, Cheryl Masterson, and Rob’s sisters, Chantel, Toni, Elizabeth, and Jenny, as well as their grown children, all know that if they need Rob’s help with something, he will do his best to help in any way he can. He has been the one to mow Cheryl’s lawn for a number of years now, and his siblings look to him when they are going to buy a car, or need something done on a car, because often he can help them out with it. I think that since my sister has been divorced for many years, Rob has stepped up to be the man of the family. He may not be able to do everything they need done, in every situation, but they know that he will always be there for them. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageMy son-in-law, Travis Royce loves to mow the lawn. He always has. When he first told us that, we were surprised. I had never met anyone who truthfully enjoyed mowing the lawn. He used to mow our lawn when they lived in an apartment, just so he could have a lawn to mow. I think one of the things he never really liked about Wyoming was the shorter lawn growing season, because unlike mowing the lawn…he hates shoveling snow. I can’t really say that I blame him there, but I can’t see myself ever enjoying the job of lawn mowing. When Amy and Travis bought a house here in Casper, Travis finally got to mow his own lawn, but it was a small yard, and it didn’t take very long, so he didn’t really get to mow as much as he wanted.

After their move to Ferndale, Washington, Travis finally got the yard of his dreams…and it came with a riding lawn mower. Travis was in Seventh Heaven. As the kids put it, they bought a riding lawnmower, and while they overpaid for the lawnmower, they did ok in that the house and yard came as a part of the deal. Now Travis can finally be mow happy. I have only seen their new yard in pictures, but I do know that it is really a big yard. There are some beautiful trees there, and yet the yard is open and spaceous…and that is just the pictures I’ve seen, without the perspective of seeing it in person. I am looking forward to going for a visit, so I can see this amazing riding lawnmower that is apparently made of gold, because it cost a lot of money, and came with a free house and yard. What more could you ask for?

Of course, as happy as his riding lawnmower has made Travis, he simply can’t mow the lawn all the time, or it would quickly be mowed down to dirt, so he and Amy had to figure out something else to do too. They came up Cyber Dartsimagewith the idea, along with their friends, Burt and Amy, to play darts via Skype. If course, they can’t both shoot for the same dart board, but with Skype, they can each see how the other side is doing. As is common in these couples matches, it was guys against girls. I would love to say that the girls won, but unfortunately, that would be a lie…they lost. Nevertheless, it was an innovative way to play long distance darts, and girls…I think you need to practice up and call for a rematch, and show those guys how it’s really done!! Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

1901177_1471143999768586_1314387885_nThere comes a time in every child’s life, when they hit that magical age…the age when they can drive by themselves. For my nephew, Weston Moore, that day has arrived. Of course, each child has to pass the driving test, and most of them do. They are so anxious to be independent, that they study as hard as they can, because they want that license. Having your own license means that you don’t have to be driven around by your parents anymore. It means that you can get a job and have your own money. It means that when you take a girl on a date, you can drive. Of course, it also means that your parents will ask you to drive your younger brother around, or go to the store, or 11892064_973495936035064_875279534068125191_nrun some other errands. It is just part of the territory. Weston has reached that age. I’m sure that he can’t wait to go and get his license. It is an exciting day for him. For the rest of us…well, that remains to be seen.

Weston is my niece Machelle Cook Moore, and her husband, Steve’s son, and like most kids his age, Weston likes to hang out with his friends, play video games, and of course, he likes girls. He likes going to dances, and is enjoying high school. Still, like most kids, he can’t wait for summer…but then I think we all feel that way. Summer for Weston brings camping in the Big Horns with his family and cousins. Weston also helps out his grandparents with their lawn and such. Now that he has turned 16, I wonder if he will still be able to do 11253_1533940126822306_7776747781160954750_nthat. If he gets a job, he may not have time to mow the lawn as often. I suppose that job will be passed down to his little brother, Easton. Time will tell.

Weston is a great young man, and I am amazed that he is 16 years old already. The years have flown by so quickly. Before long, he will be graduating from high school and going on to college, or a career, and then marriage and children of his own. I know we will be shocked at how quickly the time flew by then too. Nevertheless, that day is down the road a little bit yet. Today is Weston’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Aunt Evelyn HushmanLate yesterday afternoon, my mom’s eldest sister passed away after a battle with cancer over the past few years. It was a battle she had mostly kept to herself. She had spent much of her last years taking care of her husband, my Uncle George, with the help of family members. Caregivers, like Aunt Evelyn have a tendency to brush aside their own illness while they take care of others. They simply don’t have time to be sick. They are busy making others well.

Being the oldest of Grandma and Grandpa Byer’s nine children, Aunt Evelyn learned at a very young age that she was needed to help with the younger siblings. While Grandma Byer didn’t work or go many places, there were after all eight other children, and the oldest if often the best helper. Aunt Evelyn was also a very social person as a girl though, and really all her life. It was Aunt Evelyn, who would make her parents grandparents for the first time, something that can be a bit of an honor, in itself. It was Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George, who would double date with my mom and dad during their courting years. They would all survive being hit by a train during one of those dates because of the quick thinking of both of the men. I’m sure that was something they all talked about for a long time.

Now the memories are flooding my mind. Times we spent at her house as kids, playing hide and seek, and all the other kids games we used to play. I remember the New Years Eve parties they spent at our house, and all the times at Grandma Byer’s house. I remember sitting out on Aunt Evelyn’s lawn on summer afternoons, and her beautiful house, which was her pride and joy. She enjoyed throwing and attending the annual Christmas party, and the summer picnic, until it became too difficult…which made me sad indeed.

It seems that with each passing year, our family patriarches become fewer and fewer. I remember thinking that we would always have the aunts and uncles with us, and now there remain only five of the original siblings and four of their spouses. Somehow, we all believed that they would always be here. I guess our minds play Aunt Evelyn & Uncle George Hushmantricks on us when it comes to loved ones…even to the extent of refusing to notice that they are aging, until we look back at pictures after they are gone. Then suddenly we realize just how tired they were, just how weak and weary, and maybe, just how sick and in pain they were. Nevertheless, they kept up a brave face, smiling at each visit, in spite of the pain. They tried so hard to make us feel better, when in reality they were getting ready to say goodbye. That’s how Aunt Evelyn was. Always thinking of those around her before she thought of herself. Always trying to make their day better, a thing she did quite well with that beautiful smile of hers. I will always miss her smile. It is so much of who she was, and who she will always be in my heart. We love you Aunt Evelyn, we will miss you very much, and we will see you again in Heaven very soon.

imageimageThis morning, as my family worked to rake up all the leaves at my mother’s house, I found myself taken back to my childhood years. I remember the many times when my dad would tell all of us girls to get our coats on so we could go out and rake the lawn. I can’t say that it was always the most fun day of our lives, because we really didn’t want to get out there and rake…especially if it was cold outside. Nevertheless, we did as we were told, and like it or not, we raked up all those leaves. These days when we rake Mom’s lawn, we have to tell ourselves that it is time, because Dad isn’t here to get things started. Still, we know that he loved his yard, and he would want it taken care of, so we get out there and take care of it. Today was that day that we told ourselves that the time had come…before the bad weather that is coming on Monday, showed it’s ugly face.

imageimageWe usually send out a text to the people that we know we can count on to be there, and Mom and Cheryl provide the breakfast of donuts and a lunch of sandwiches and chips. When all the workers have assembled, the work begins. We normally have three or four men show up too, but this year just didn’t work out. The men were either out of town or working. Thankfully, we had my niece, Jenny Spethman’s boys, Xander, Zack, and Isaac to strong arm the bags full of leaves out to the alley for us. Other than those boys, we girls were the worker bees for the day. We had a great time, laughing and fighting the wind for the leaves. I know that a number of them ended up down the street instead of in the bags, because we had a pretty good wind going.

We had a couple of other helpers that we hadn’t exactly planned on, as well. My niece, Jenny’s daughter, Aleesia, and my niece Jessi Sawdon’s dog, Daisy. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but suffice it to say that the two imageimageof them managed to remove as many leaves from the piles as they stuck into them. While Jenny was trying to bag the leaves, Aleesia wanted to help, but instead of putting leaves in the bag, she pushed them the other way…out of the pile. As to Daisy, she thought the leaves were something to pay with…or at least in, so she would jump around in the leaves and try to play with the workers. It was all pretty cute, and despite the distractions, we did manage to get the leaves raked up before lunchtime. It just goes to show you what a few worker bees can do.

Christopher, Caalab, and ShaiMy granddaughter, Shai was not always a fan of her little brother. Like many older siblings, she often wished that she had been an only child. Of course, many kids wish that when their younger sibling comes along. They get less attention, and they have to share their toys. Sometimes, it’s because the new baby cries a lot, as was partly the problem for Shai…at least until Caalab started teasing her, as brothers often do to their sisters. Early on though, Shai liked her little brother…except when he was crying. Then she wished her parents could somehow send him back where he came from.

Being a girl, Shai has a motherly side, but not so much when it comes to her brother. As far as she is concerned, brothers are best when they are seen and not heard, and the less seen the better. In fact, never coming out of his room is a pretty good idea, since she can’t send him back where he came from. Of course, Caalab has an entirely different view of things. Girls are for picking on, and they should take it with a smile. She is welcome to have her door closed when she is getting dressed, but all other times of the day should be open season on his sister. My guess is that by now, you can see the problem these two had.
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Of course, much has changed as they have grown older, and most of the time they get along well…provided Caalab keeps his teasing to a tolerable level, but as little kids, it was a different story. Shai tried everything to shut her brother out, since hearing him at all annoyed her. Covering her ears didn’t always work very well, and closing her door wasn’t any better. Finally, she hit on the perfect plan. She would borrow her grandpa’s ear muffs, that he used when mowing the lawn to protect his ears. She figured that since they were powerful enough to block out most of the lawn mower’s noise, they should work on her little brother. And, I suppose it would have worked too, except for the simple fact that they only blocked out sound. Her little brother was still there. I’m sure glad that those days were short lived, because otherwise, I might only have two grandsons, instead of three.

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