little sister

My grand niece, Izabella Harman is a sweet little girl, with great big eyes. She is sweet natured, and yet sassy, which I love. She reminds me of me…in the sassy things anyway. I always hope I’m sweet natured, but that isn’t my call. Izabella, on the other hand is definitely sweet natured. She has a smile that will light up her whole face, and people can’t help but love her. Her parents are definitely going to have to fight off the boys with Izabella and her sister Alice, who is a lot like her little sister.

I love watching Alice, Izabelle, and their brother, Jaxx when they play. They genuinely like each other, not just love each other. These three bring so much joy to their parents, Melanie and Jake Harman. Watching them run around the house playing and giggling would put a smile on anyone’s face. These kids are all happy and healthy, and full of energy, so when they get going, it’s no holds barred. And little brother Jaxx, has no trouble keeping up with his sisters.

Izabella is a little shy around people she doesn’t know well, but that isn’t a bad thing. Once she gets to know you, she is quite talkative, and her cute little voice is fun. I remember when she first started talking. Her little teeny voice and those big eyes were totally charming. I can’t believe she is 4 years old already. Where has the time gone? Before we know it these kids will be all grown up and married. That’s how it feels with their daddy. It seems like just yesterday he and his little sister were babies. Now they have their own babies. Slow down Belle. Today is Izabella’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Steve, Jenny, and Princess LailaLosing a loved one is never an easy thing, but rather seems to be an inevitable part of life. There is never a good time for it, and in fact, when it involves a baby or a child, it is always too soon. They haven’t had the chance to have a life really, not like their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even their parents. Nevertheless, losing a loved one…no matter their age, is a heart wrenching thing. Those who remain feel hollowed out inside, because there is simply an emptiness that always remains in the place that had been inhabited by the loved one who has passed. For a Christian, it isn’t about thinking they will never see that person again, because we believe that those who live in the Lord, never see each other for the last time. It’s more about not really being prepared to wait for that day to come, when they will finally get a glimpse into Heaven, and know the absolute joy their loved one has been experiencing since they went home.

None of us gets to go through life without ever losing someone…at least not if we have spent much time here on Earth. Still, the loss of a child seems to be an especially cruel type of loss. It is one I have never personally experienced. Other members of my family have, but I can’t really know the pain they feel. The loss of an infant, whether through miscarriage or after they were born, must be excruciating. The parents can’t imagine letting their baby go on ahead of them to Heaven, because they are simply too little to go somewhere alone. Nevertheless, we can’t go, because they live in Heaven now, and we do not. We are still waiting for our turn to go, so that we can finally have that first glimpse.

We have to trust in the Lord to be there with our loved one to show them the way…or maybe it is really us who need the help. We are really the ones who don’t know the way. And it’s not the way to Heaven that is lost to us, but rather the way to go on…here, that eludes us. Our hearts just feel like they are too tired to take another beat, and yet they must. There are others who depend on us too. We have to carry on. It will most likely be the hardest thing anyone ever has to do.

On this day, four years ago, my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve Spethman received a beautiful little Princess Lailadaughter named Laila Elizabeth. She was the gift they had waited for, the daughter after three sons. Her time here would be very short…just eighteen days, but her memory will last forever, as will her life in Heaven. Losing Laila made it very hard to move forward, but Jenny and Steve took that step in faith again and receive a little sister for Laila, named Aleesia Juliette. She would bring much joy to their still broken and fragile hearts, but Laila will never be far from their thoughts…or the thoughts of her three older brothers, Xander, Zackery, and Isaac. They will all continue to look forward to that first glimpse of Heaven, and the time when they will be united with Laila forever. Happy birthday in Heaven Princess Laila. I know it will be a wonderful day. We love you baby girl, and we can’t wait to get to know you in Heaven.

IMG_4658Our family liked my nephew, Eric Parmely’s wife, Ashley from the moment we first met her. Ashley is an outgoing girl with a great sense of humor, and a practical, common sense way of doing things. We all felt like she fit right into our family from day one. Now, over three years after joining our family, Ashley and Eric have two precious little girls to make their family complete. Reagan is almost two, and Hattie is just a little over one month. In some ways, Ashley reminds me of a younger version of myself. She is very capable of handling those two little ones all by herself, and having kids doesn’t slow her down one bit. When many of the family members got together to hike at Garden Creek Falls recently, Ashley showed up with Reagan in one arm, Hattie in a front baby pack, and the two family dogs on leashes, and believe me, she had the whole situation under complete control, and packing around two little ones by yourself is a big job.

Ashley really has a way with children and animals that is just precious to watch. The family dogs, Ayva and IMG_4659Dixie are so well behaved that the leashes are really not necessary. I love watching such well behaved dogs. They are able to have the freedom to roam a little, but when they are called, they immediately return to their master. They don’t jump on people and don’t stay right in your face, but rather they spend time enjoying the outing and their favorite little girl, my grand niece, Reagan. I’m sure that Eric had something to do with the training of the family dogs too, but Ashley has been around animals all her life. Her family has horses, including miniature horses. Ashley loves them, and I’m sure that living next door to her parents allows her to be a big help to them too.

Ashley has taken that same gentle way with her daughters. Watching Reagan play, you can tell that she and her mom do things together, like yoga, reading, and raising little sister, Hattie. Ashley recognizes Reagan’s desire to help with all the things that need to be done for Hattie, and she patiently allows Reagan to be a big part of it. I love the closeness that Ashley and her girls share, and the Hattie, with Ashley and Reagancloseness she is building between Reagan and Hattie. Reagan wants to be a part of it all, and that is important, so Ashley’s patience with that process is so great.

Eric and Ashley’s lives have become much more busy with the arrival of Hattie, and the construction they are doing in the basement of their home to accommodate the needs of two little girls. I know that their lives are only going to get busier as the girls move into their school years and all the activities that come with that, but for now, they can just relax and enjoy the fun and laughter that comes with being the parents of two little girls. Today is Ashley’s birthday. You are such a great mom. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

1012520_10200670730066580_678793453_nWe don’t often think of little boys as being responsible, caring people, but when I look back on the life of my grand nephew, Xander, I see a very different boy than what most people see in boys. Xander is the oldest of the five children of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. Being the oldest has it’s responsibilities, and lots of olders don’t really like that, but lately, I have noticed that Xander is taking on the responsibilities without being told to do so. He is a little more watchful over his younger siblings, especially his little sister. He is a little more into being the teacher of the younger ones, showing them how to do things…being the leader that I think he was meant to be. Xander has that big brother kind of personality that is a combination of helper, teacher, and playmate. I love the young man that he is so quickly becoming.

Xander has a sensitive side too, and a heart that has had to endure a some sad things. When his sister Laila passed away, it was Xander who felt that loss so deeply. His younger brothers felt the loss too, but Xander understood it so much more than they did, and it hit him very hard. Then when his younger sister, Aleesia came along, he developed a bond with her that helped to fill the hole that was left when Laila passed. Aleesia has really stolen her biggest brother’s heart. She moved in there, and he has found himself so content with the big brother relationship they have. When it comes to Aleesia, Xander is a big teddy bear for sure.

Xander is so grown up now in so many ways, but inside there is still a lot of little boy in him. He is so much like his dad…more so than any of the other kids. Xander probably looks more like his dad than any of the other kids, and while they all have great personalities, Xander is definitely his daddy’s boy. I see so much of Steve in Xander, and they have such a great 536840_10151550233137237_854328503_nrelationship. Steve is very hands on with his kids, and they thrive on that. Of course, they also get the nurturing balance of Jenny’s mothering, but these boys are all boy, and very much into all of the manly, sporty, muscle man things that their dad likes. Still, having a little sister has inspired their sensitive side, and no one more than Xander who enjoys being the oldest brother of this group. Xander has lived through so many changes in his family in he first eleven years, and as the family grows up, he will live through so many more, but he isone of those great kids who will be able to take it all in stride. Today is Xander’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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