loving

imageKids follow a typical pattern in the things they do, but that in no way makes kids the same. Some kids are too busy with their own things to take much notice of the aunts and uncles around them, while others, like my grand niece, Audrianna Masterson, always make an effort to come and say hello, followed by a hug, of course. Anna, as she has been nicknamed, is a very gentle soul, with a loving spirit. Whenever I am around her, usually at least twice a week, she just warms my heart with her gentle, loving ways.

Anna loves to read, and is spending much of this summer in a reading contest to see how many books she can read. So far she has won a t-shirt for her efforts, and she was so proud of it, that she had to make sure I saw it. Anna really loves learning in general. During the school year, when I see her, she like to sit with me and do her homework. Then she has imageme check it for her. I don’t really think it’s the homework help she is after, but rather the time she and I can spend together.

Don’t get me wrong, because Anna love to play too. She doesn’t care if the kids are older, like her cousins, Xander, Zach, and Isaac Spethman, or her brother Matthew Masterson, or her little cousin Aleesia Spethman, who is just three, and even her cousin, Shai Royce, who is twenty. She also likes hanging out with her big sister, Raelynn Masterson, when she has time for her that is. Raelynn is in middle school now, so that is a bit limited, nevertheless, Anna looks up to her big sister.

Anna may not be in the double digit age group yet, but she is coming into her own, nevertheless. I see her personality coming out more and more. Anna is not a drama queen or a princess. That just isn’t her style. She imageis a good girl who loves to help others, especially her parents. Anna is also a lot like her Great Aunt Caryn in that she is a deep thinker. She reasons things out in her own mind. She concentrates on the task at hand, or just on the thoughts running through her own head. Being a thinker and a concentrator can make people wonder about you. Some might think you are mad or that you are stand offish, when what you really are is deep in your own world of thoughts. Some people may not get that, but I get it, Anna, because you remind me of me…and I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. Maybe you will be a writer too, telling others about your own thoughts, memories, and family. Today is Anna’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

9913_10200970590682908_964160129_nBeing a big, muscular kid can have its advantages. You can be pretty sure no one is going to pick on you. That is the case with my grand nephew, Xander Spethman. Xander takes after his dad, Steve Spethman in many ways. He is very much built like his dad, and in so many ways, he has the same values, personality, and strong sense of right and wrong that his dad has…of course, he also gets that from his mom, my niece, Jenny Spethman. While they were the ones that trained Xander up in the way he should go, in reality, Xander already had within himself that protective instinct.

Xander is particularly protective of his little sister, Aleesia, as are her other brothers, Xander blocks for AleesiaZack and Isaac. They know about loss, having lost their other sister, Laila, and Xander, being the oldest, felt the sting of that loss deeply. Then God blessed this family with a second daughter, Aleesia, and the brothers have basically made her the princess. She rules the roost, and the brothers are just fine with that. One day a short time ago, they all decided to play football in the yard. Aleesia wanted to play too, so it was Xander and Aleesia against Zack and Isaac. Aleesia was basically made the quarterback, and Xander blocked his brothers so they couldn’t get to her. I’m sure you all know that Zack and Isaac were fully aware of the plan too, because they could have tackled Aleesia a couple of times. They just wouldn’t, because she is the princess, and that just isn’t done. Nevertheless, even in play, Xander is the protector of his little sister, and I’m sure that you all know that if anyone really tried to pick on his little sister, Xander would turn into a roaring lion, and they would wish they had never dared to bother Aleesia.
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Xander is a champion of protection for those around him who do not have his strength and size. He doesn’t like to see anyone picked on, and he has stood up for someone being bullied more than once. Often, it is the bigger kids who tend to be the bullies, but not in Xander’s case. He is the protector of those who need protection. He would never have it in his heart to bully anyone, because inside that big kid lives a tender, loving, and very kind heart. It really is such a blessing to see how Xander has matured as the years have passed. He never was a bully, but he has become more and more the guy that everyone knows they can count on for anything. Today is Xander’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

75056_1633440283117_8006226_n_editedThe first time I met my niece, Toni’s future husband, Dave, I thought that he was pretty quiet…which surprised me because Toni is so outgoing. Like most first impressions, this one was wrong, because Dave is very outgoing and quite fun. On Christmas I got to see the goofy side of him, when for lack of a chair, he sat on his brother-in-law, Steve’s lap. I could tell, that neither of them were surprised by his antics, but I certainly was. I won’t be fooled into thinking that Dave doesn’t have an outgoing, and very humorous side again.

Since that first meeting, I have watched how Dave is and looked at the pictures they have taken, and while his goofy side is fun to watch, the thing about Dave that most impresses me is the loving side. It is so obvious 29480_1450963761318_2102979_n_editedto me that Dave loves Toni with his whole being, and that is high on my list of what a husband should be toward his wife. It is so easy to see how in love these two are. Toni is absolutely glowing these days, and as her aunt, I can say that I really like seeing that. I think these two will have a long happy life together.

Another thing that really impresses me about Dave is the way he worked to make a relationship between him and Toni’s son, James work. Blended families are sometimes difficult, and for a kid, it’s hard to accept that your mom is marrying someone that isn’t your dad, but Dave has found a way to win James over. He won’t ever try to replace James dad, but they have a better relationship than so many steps do, because Dave took the time to let James ease into a friendship with him. He included him and even found things that 423193_10151136257657237_1789342987_n_editedthey could do together…guy things, that are important to a kid. I think that has endeared Dave to many in the family.

I think Dave is a really good fit in this family, and will be great to be around. We are a family of teasers, and Dave is that way too, and yet that isn’t all he is about. He steps up and pitches in whenever he is needed, even offering his help with things like raking the leaves up when the rest of us just couldn’t get around to it. Basically, Dave is one of the family. Today is Dave’s birthday…the first since his marriage to Toni. And it’s Super Bowl Sunday too, so that should help make it a good day!! Happy birthday Dave!! We love you!! Have a super birthday!!

Some little boys have such a sweet nature that it is almost surprising…especially when they are also a little bit tough guy. That pretty much describes my grand nephew, Matthew. When he was little he used to play fighting ninja on demand. He would try to make sure we all knew not to mess with him, and yet inside this little boy was a very kind heart. He loves to be a helper, especially when it involves his grandma, my sister, Cheryl. Matthew would do anything for her. He loves her so much. And second to her would have to be my mom, his great grandmother, but then, Matthew is a very loving guy, and he thinks he whole family is pretty great.

When Matthew was little…in his ninja days, I fully expected him to be a tough guy, who never showed much emotion, but then came the day that he walked in the door to my mom’s house, saw me sitting in the first chair he came to, and he walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. I was so surprised. It was just such a loving, sweet thing to do…not a tough guy move at all, but it was a Matthew move, as I have since found out.

To me it seemed like Matthew changed from tough guy to loving guy overnight. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, but I don’t see him every day…more like once a week or so. I suppose that in church there is just too much going on to notice the changes, but when he came into Mom’s living room, there were no distractions, and this sweet little boy simply acted on the feelings in his heart. His loving hug for me, his great aunt was such a precious act, and one that has stayed in my heart ever since. Little did he know that his actions that day brought joy into the heart of his work weary great aunt. And even if it meant little more than a hello hug to him, it made my entire day. How awesome that was.

Today, that sweet little boy turns 7 years old…also, unbelievable. I know that as he grows, he will become more and more loving, because it is simply in his nature. Happy birthday Matthew!! I love you very much sweet boy!! Have an awesome day!!

Every year as their birthdays approach I am reminded of how quickly the years go by. Today my grandson Caalab turns 15 years old. He will go and get his driving permit in a little while, and before I know it, he will be driving on his own like his sister, Shai, and their cousin, Chris. I sometimes wish I could turn back the hands of time to when they were little kids again. It seemed like we had so many years before they would be grown then, but that belief was deceiving, and now the years are gone.

Looking back on Caalab’s childhood, I am reminded of what a comedian he was and still is. He was just about 2 years old, when his dad, my son-in-law, Travis taught him to make little fists, and say, “You want some of this!” No, Caalab wasn’t being taught to fight. It was all a joke, because Caalab was and still is a very loving boy. When asked to say, “Do you want some of this”, he did it with a huge grin on his face, and immediately after saying it, Caalab would disolve into delighted giggles. He would never choose to be a fighter, because he didn’t have that kind of a personality…he loves people. It always struck him as the funniest thing…that thought of putting up his dukes and fighting with someone. His eyes shone with delight to see just how funny we all found his little drama.

Caalab was always a jokster. He loved making people laugh, and if something he say got him a good laugh from people, he would go for it again. I’m sure you all remember “The Dukes of Hazard”. And I’m sure you remember Rosco P Coltrane and his famous saying, “It was a Horrendous Crash.” When Amy tried to teach Caalab to say that, but it just wouldn’t come out right. Caalab always said, “It was a Horrendous Dash.” When we all laughed, so did he, and then he would do a repeat performance. It was so funny to hear him say it that we asked over and over again.

The cute little kid things that our children and grandchildren say are so precious that we really do wish that those years could go on forever…that they would never grow up…but then, right before our very eyes, they do grow up, and one day you just sort of wake up to find that they are 15 years old and getting their learner’s permit. Where did the time go? Caalab, you can’t be so grown up yet. Happy Birthday Buddy!! We love you very much!!

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