sister

My grand niece, Alice Green has had an exciting couple of years. She finished her last year of pre-school, and now its on to Kindergarten. She has grown so much in the past few years…from the toddler that she was when I first met her young girl ready to get started on the next step in her education. Alice is a little shy, but once she gets to know people, she has a personality that bubbles with excitement. Alice really likes people, and of course, mostly kids. For three of her five years, she was an only child, and that meant that friends were a little bit more scarce, but all that has changed.

On December 21, 2015, Alice got an early Christmas present…a little sister of her very own named Izabella Harman. Alice was so excited. She had a sister, and before long, she would have a friend to play with who was always there in the same house with her. Alice was a good helper to her mom, my niece, Melanie Harman and my nephew, Jake Harman. She wanted to help with the baby, and make her laugh, and just be with her, in general, because that’s what big sisters do, and Alice planned to be the best big sister ever…a goal that I think she has definitely accomplished. But Alice’s excitement wasn’t over yet. On May 30, 2017, Alice got a little brother named Jaxx Harman. Jaxx would have not just one big sister, but two. I’m not sure how much he will like that when he is older, but while they are all little, this is going to be the best experience ever.

Alice is still the greatest big sister ever, because she loves her little sister and brother, and she loves to make them laugh. She and Belle play and giggle for hours, and very soon, Jaxx will join in the fun, because he won’t be a baby forever. Pretty soon, the Harman house will be filled with the laughter of three children in boisterous play. There is nothing greater than a house filled with the laughter of joyful children. For Alice, life is good. She is growing up, and she has Kindergarten to look forward to soon, and each day when she comes home, she will be greeted by her sister and brother, ready to play with the greatest big sister ever. Today is Alice’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Lucas Iverson is turning six today, and he is proudly getting ready to go to Kindergarten. Lucas is a special kid. He has Down’s Syndrome, but he isn’t letting that or anything else slow him down. He has had to work harder than most kids, just to arrive at the same place, but just because it’s been harder, doesn’t mean Lucas will quit. He’s no quitter!!

Going to Kindergarten is going to make for a big year for Lucas, but that isn’t the only big step in Lucas’ next year. Over the next few months, Lucas is going to have some tests and procedures at Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. I’m not sure what they are hoping to find with the tests or the procedures, but I pray they will find a way to make his life easier. His young life has already been filled with tests, and therapy to help with walking and such. Most of us would have wanted to quit long ago, but Lucas just keeps plugging along, because, he’s no quitter!!

Hard work has paid off for Lucas, because he is walking now, and that is a very big accomplishment. I think that his sister, Zoey might have had a lot to do with that. Zoey is just a little over four years younger than Lucas, but since she could walk earlier, she inspired him…and she helped him along. Sh has never been the kind of sister to push Lucas away. She loves him with all her heart. When they are in the playpen, they love to wrestle, and that is good exercise too, so I’m sure it has helped to make Lucas stronger. From what their mom, Cassie has told me, it’s quite a sight. It makes her and their dad, Chris laugh. The kids have a great time too.

Like most kids, Lucas live to watch television and movies. His favorite movie right now is Moana. Now if you’re like me, you might have to look that movie up to see what it is all about. Well, it’s an adventure movie about a teenager who sets out to save her people. Lucas likes that sort of thing. He also likes reading his cardboard books and coloring. I’m sure he’s quite an artist. Lucas is growing into quite a big boy, and it s all because he’s no quitter!! Today is Lucas’ 6th birthday!! Happy birthday sweet Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When you are born, the second child in a family, you have the unique blessing of coming home to an older sibling who has just become a big sister or big brother for the first time. That was the exact blessing I got when I was born. I came home to a big sister who was excited about being the big sister. My sister, Cheryl Masterson was an amazing big sister. I have spent my life always knowing that she was there for me, and that is a very comforting feeling. I don’t know if I recognized that feeling as a baby or not, but I certainly have over the years of my life.

Cheryl and I were best friends. We did everything together. She showed me how to do so many things, as the years went by, and since I never had the same stylish flair that she did, I have to say she was pretty patient with my awkwardness too. When I needed protection…real or imagined…Cheryl was there too. She was always so brave, while I might very likely hide under the blankets. Maybe that comes with being the oldest, and knowing from a very young age that she was the keeper of the younger kids. Being the oldest is a job that never really passes from a child. It isn’t just about being older in age, but knowing that the younger kids will always look up to you. It changes a person. Cheryl is a different person than I am, in part because she was the oldest, and I never had to pick up those reigns. I wasn’t the oldest child.

These days, I don’t suppose that I need as much monitoring as I used to. Nevertheless, since our parents’ passing, Cheryl always likes to know that we have made it safely from any travel destinations we are on. That is a part of what our parents always did, and something we have all tried to pick up and do now, but I believe it was Cheryl that first picked up that job and carried it on. It is such a keeper of the younger kids thing to do. The oldest child always feels a duty to take care of the younger kids…no matter how old they get. I still enjoy spending time with my sister Cheryl, and as she has been all my life, she is a great blessing to me today. She is my friend and my mentor. She always takes the high road, and does the things that God would want her to do, and that makes her a great mentor. God could not have given me a better big sister. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When a child is born, their parents have high hopes for the baby’s life, not knowing anything about the child yet, or what talents he or she might have. As the years go by, the parents begin to notice different aspects of this new little person, and get little hints about their interests. Still, they don’t really know who this child will become. That part of their child is still in the future, and what they will be, remains to be seen. It always seems like it is so far in the future, but in fact, it isn’t. It will seem like just yesterday that you wondered who this child would be, and suddenly, they know.

That is the case with my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. When she was a little girl, she was such a little Diva, and trust me when I say that she is still a classy looking lady, but there is so much more to the person that Chantel has grown up to be than that little pretty lady she always was. Chantel’s artistic talents started to shine through early on. She loves to write, decorate, refurbish furniture, and paint…and I, for one, have been the recipient of several of her designs. These days, Chantel’s interests have turned to wedding planning. She has started a Facebook site called Next To The Dress, and she is very good at what she does. I love her ideas, as do the brides and grooms she has helped to achieve their perfect day. She is able to plan any style of wedding, and she makes them absolutely beautiful. I just love Chantel’s creativity. I could never put together the things that she does…both in her weddings and her hobbies. I think that one of the main reasons that Chantel is so good at what she does, is because of her genuinely caring heart. I think it would be unthinkable for Chantel to have a wedding go bad…not because she planned it, but because it wouldn’t be…perfect for the bride and groom.

I don’t know what Chantel’s mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson thought she would become, but I know that she is very happy with the outcome. When a child is born, we know that they are an unwritten book, waiting to fill the pages with the wonderful choices they can make. I think Chantel has written a beautiful book of life for herself, and I am glad that I got to be a part of watching her become the beautiful woman she is….even if she is still a “little” lady. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock has always been the sweetest one of us all, and I don’t say that to sound like the rest of us are horrible hags, because that isn’t the case at all. It’s just that if you ask any one of my other three sisters or me, what one thing we all agreed on concerning Allyn, it was that “Allyn was always good.” As a little girl, our mom couldn’t spank or even yell at Allyn, because she would become so broken hearted…when Mom simply told her no-no. Allyn just has a very tender heart, to this day. Being tender hearted can have it’s really good side too. Allyn has a kind way about her, and it is not something that goes unnoticed in any setting. Everyone notices her kindness and sweet ways.

Over the years, Allyn has done her very best to always make those around her feel loved and blessed. She had special nicknames for her kids, and songs using their name that she either made up or replaced a name in a song with theirs. One thing her kids could always count on is that their mom was going to put a smile on their face every day. We all felt that way, so I know what I am talking about.

Other than being married to her husband, Chris Hadlock and having her children, Jessi Sawdon, Ryan Hadlock, Lindsay Moore, and Kellie Hadlock, I think that the greatest blessings in recent years have come in the form of her children’s spouses, Jason Sawdon, Chelsea Hadlock, and Shannon Moore, and now the beautiful little grandbabies she has, Ethan Hadlock, Aurora Hadlock, and Adelaide Sawdon. These days the little name songs have the names of those precious babies in them, and Allyn makes sure that each of those babies knows that they are just the sweetest one, and while it might seem odd that each one could be the sweetest one, in the world of a grandma, that is totally possible. Grandmas love each baby the most, no matter how many there are. That’s because we love each one the same…100%. Allyn is as blessed as a woman can be, and she is still thought of as the sweetest one. In fact, that very thing came up last night when I was at our sister Cheryl’s house and we were talking. We all agreed that Allyn was always good. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

999970_10205491159385935_2192146512980116356_nMy grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock, who is the son of my nephew Ryan Hadlock and his wife, Chelsea, is such a sweet boy. I had the chance to talk to my sister, Alena Stevens, who works at Verda James Elementary School, where Ethan and his sister Aurora go to school, and I asked her about Ethan from a school perspective…not because I expected him to be very different than he is at home, but because she would see him from a different perspective than his parents or grandparents. What she told me, was a very nice, pleasant surprise, in a way, and yet, not totally unexpected, because as she told me about it, I could totally see Ethan in her words.

Alena told me that Ethan is a good boy, and a good student, a fact that was corroborated by his mother’s words that he is rated as exceptional in his class in reading and math. For a parent, hearing that your children are well behaved and well liked in school, is quite 934776_10202457190138600_8886166836631068153_nrewarding, because it speaks to their parenting skills. Ryan and Chelsea are good parents, and they have raised beautiful, loving children. Alena told me that he made friends quickly and easily, when he came to Verda James, and as anyone who has changed schools before will tell you, making new friends can be hard. Not for Ethan though. He is just such a pleasant, kind, and well behaved boy, that kids are naturally drawn to him. Ethan is always cheerful, and as I said, kind, and one thing that sometimes doesn’t happen…good to his little sister. He always makes sure that she is where she needs to be, and that she has everything she needs. You often see a little girl who motherly, but boys don’t always take the time to help their younger siblings. Ethan is an exception to that rule. As much as he is all boy, he is still good to Aurora, and that makes his stand out to those adults, and children too, around him. Ethan is starting to get into Lego Robotics, and really loves it. He still loves Star Wars, and enjoys playing Minecraft too.

11052885_10206375593498903_3791205809575654238_nProbably the most surprising thing that my sister told me was the little story about the Book Fair. She told me that Ethan doesn’t like to burden anyone. He wanted a book from the Book Fair, but didn’t want to bother his mom by asking for the money. He kept bringing what he had from home not knowing it wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, he tried to get a little more money and even brought in a gift card he had received. The librarian felt so bad that he didn’t have enough, so she just took what he had and gave him the book. Knowing his parents, as we do, we know that his mom would have gladly given him the money, but he just didn’t want to burden her. What a kind, loving boy!! Today is Ethan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! You are never a burden!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

13265986_257222344634488_4589898347726366777_n13406763_265886647101391_3366028807812107235_nMy grand niece, Reagan Parmely is a busy little girl. I think that her most important job, at least in her opinion, is being the big sister. Reagan takes it upon herself to help her little sister, Hattie to do things like climbing the hay bales. She also takes her for walks in the mud, and for rides in her truck…yes, Reagan has a truck…that runs. Together, they help around the farm, taking care of the animals, and cuddling the babies. As sisters go, Reagan and Hattie are best friends. Reagan teaches Hattie things…like pushing her big sister on the tricycle, and how the tell the difference between weeds and flowers. They have great times together.

Reagan is a helper. She loves the farm animals, and is a great help when it comes to their care. The size of these animals doesn’t bother her one bit. Most kids would be at least a little apprehensive around a cow or horse that is more that twice their size, but not Reagan, or her sister, Hattie. They know how to act around the animals, and the animals are very gentle with them. Reagan likes to make sure that all the farm animals are where they are supposed to be, In fact, all animals have a proper place, and they should stay there. In Casper, where we live, 13876265_292781794411876_617624038936402311_nimg_5512there are two statues of horses eating the grass at the Quality Inn, and every time Reagan’s family drives by there, Reagan proceeds to tell those horses that they need to get back home to their corral. Now, don’t misunderstand me, she knows they are statues. She just likes saying that to be funny, and we all think it’s funny too.

Reagan likes mobility…of any kind. She rides horse, motorcycles, her truck, bicycle, and of course, the standard walking and running. And she’s pretty good at all of them. I think she was born riding something…or shortly thereafter. She takes everyone in her truck, or at least the ones that fit. I’m not totally sure how the dogs feel about it, but they ride along, so I guess she must be a pretty good driver. Reagan has grown up around a dad that loves motorcycles, a mom who loves horses, and an uncle who loves trucks, so none of this is particularly surprising to me. She has already had her first motorcycle accident, and while she had a shiner, she is a tough 13873017_287974464892609_4907685120331456178_n12049279_134764306880293_1923635950844667072_ngirl, who doesn’t give up. She gets right back on and goes again. She loves hiking with her Oma, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, and riding her bicycle with her Aunt Brenda Schulenberg, who goes by BR. Together they all work on staying healthy and active. Reagan also loves to work with her grandparents, Albert and Kari Eighmy. They have safe tools for her to use, and she helps them build things around their farm. She loves having all of these people who let her help with things, because she likes to be busy. Today is Reagan’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

first-transcontinental-air-race-1I think most of us have watched car races at some point in our lives, some of us, like my sister Alena Stevens and her husband Mike, have even been to some of the big raceways. Some of us…as teenagers, even participated in drag racing on the public streets, hoping the whole time not to get caught by the police. While these don’t happen every day, they are a normal type of race, but on this day October 8, 1919, a most unusual race was held. It was the first of its kind. The first transcontinental flight took place in 1911, so I suppose that it was only a matter of time before a race had to be held. The first Transcontinental Air Race in the United States took place with 63 airplanes competing in the round trip aerial derby between California and New York.
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Fifteen planes took off from the Presidio in San Francisco California, and 48 planes left Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York. The goal was to see who could fly from one location to the other and back with the best time. I know that most of us instinctively look up when we hear an airplane overhead, so just imagine hearing 48 of them flying over at the same time. What an amazing sight that would be. Of course, the planes would eventually spread out some, as the faster ones got ahead of the others. The race was a total of 5,400 miles long, and the winner was Lieutenant Bevin Maynard, who reached Presidio in just over three days rested, serviced his plane and took off again. His actual first-transcontinental-air-race-2flight time was 24 hours, 59 minutes, and 49 seconds. Maynard won the race by having the lowest elapsed time, even though three other people had faster actual flying times.

Since that first race, there have been any others, including a Junior transcontinental air speed record and a Women’s transcontinental air speed record. People just seem to have a natural need for speed, and once a record has been set, someone is always there waiting in the wings to break that record. It seems flight is one of the biggest need for speed and record breaking areas of transportation there is.

img_4981img_5007Kids grow up so quickly, and it often seems like the ones who have an older sibling grow up faster. Such is the case with my grand niece, Hattie Joy Parmely. Hattie is turning two years old today, but with the help of her sister, Reagan Parmely, she just seems older than two. When I think of a two year old, I think of a child who is trying to learn to pedal a tricycle, but instead, Hattie rides a Strider. Now for those of you who don’t know, that is a bicycle with no pedals. Instead of pedaling, the rider uses their feet to basically run the bicycle down the road. I realize that this method is not like riding a bicycle exactly, but it does take a degree of coordination, and Hattie has mastered it very well.

Lots of kids like to climb, but I’m not sure I have seen too many that can climb a stack of hay bails. Granted, once again, Hattie had the help of her big sister, Reagan, and in the end just a little push from her mommy, Ashley Parmely. Reagan didn’t initially realize that Hattie needed help, but Hattie let her know…in no uncertain terms, saying, “Reagie, help me!! Help me Reagie!!” And of course, Reagan did help her. Very soon Hattie was up on that bale of hay, right beside her big sister, because, while she is only two, that does not mean she can’t do the things her big sister does…just watch her, if you don’t believe it.

Hattie and her family live in the country, and they have lots of animals to take care of. Hattie and Reagan aren’t one bit scared of the animals, and in fact I think they think of them more as their babies. So while most little girls are playing with dolls, these girls are playing with goats, chickens, and horses. They help to care for img_4977img_4976them, and get to ride the horses, and eventually they will learn the ropes even more, although, cleaning up after them might not be the thrill of their days. Still, as the saying goes, “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.” And as kids get older, they learn all the ropes of having animals.

Hattie looks so much like her daddy, Eric Parmely, and we all thought her sister Reagan did too, but as Reagan has grown, she has started to look more like her mommy. I suppose that time will tell, as to whether or not Hattie will start to take on more of her mommy’s features. We will just have to wait and see what the future brings. Today is Hattie’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Alice GreenLove my little sisterMy great grand niece, Alice Green is a delightful little girl with a variety of things that capture her interest. As a little girl of just four years, life is just now unfolding for Alice, and she finds most of it exciting. This past year found Alice attending preschool. Alice totally blossomed during her time in preschool. She loves to count, and making new friends is a big plus too. I think sending Alice to preschool might have been hard on her mom, Melanie Harman though. It’s hard to let your little one head out into the world, I know, because it was hard for me. You just can’t believe that they are old enough to go somewhere without you, but Alice showed her mom that she was ready, and preschool has been great fun for Alice.

This last year also found Alice getting ready for some big changes in her life. Her mom married my grand nephew, Jake Harman, and they gave Alice something she has totally loved…her little sister, Izabella. Alice loves being a big sister. I think having a sibling is something Alice has wanted for quite some time. She mostly likes to entertain her little sister, but there will come a day, when Alice is more than just a playmate for Izabella. Older sisters are the role model for their younger sisters. They are looked at for everything from fashion style to makeup to boys. It’s a big job, but I think Alice will be up to the task.

In fact, Alice has been practicing her superhero skills already. She absolutely loves Superman. Alice doesn’t Patriotic GirlAlice & Izabellecare about being Superman’s girlfriend either, because in reality, while Lois Lane was pretty and all, she was not the superhero…Superman was. That just isn’t what Alice has in mind. She wants to be superman. I suppose that some people would say that she can’t, but in years gone by, girls weren’t allowed to play certain sports, and now they can. So, I can say if Alice wants to be Superman, I think she can do it. Today is Alice’s 4th birthday…one she shares with her new grandpa, Dave Balcerzak, and Alice thinks that’s just perfect. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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