Garrett Stevens croppedThe moonless night was dark, quiet, and peaceful. The children were tucked in their beds in the trailer, while their parents, my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband, Mike sat outside by the campfire. It had been a beautiful day on vacation. They love camping, and this was the perfect ending to a perfect day. After sitting by the campfire for a while, they decided that it was time to go to bed. They tip toed into the trailer, where the candle in the sink that Alena had left burning for a night light for the kids had burned itself out, leaving the trailer very dark. They climbed into bed, and started to drift off to sleep. Suddenly the quiet was shattered as their ten year old son, Garrett sat up and yelled, “I’m blind!!” To which my sister said, “No you’re not. It’s just dark. Go back to sleep.” I’m sure it was all she could do to hold back the giggles that were bubbling up inside her. I know it would be hard for me.

This was not the first time Garrett would do some goofy thing, nor would it be the last. When Garrett was about three or four, he decided that he wanted to ride a big boy bicycle, so his parents got him a two wheeler and put training wheels on it. Garrett was floating on air. He loved riding around on the bike. That didn’t mean, Garrett Michael Stevens croppedhowever, that he was in any hurry to get rid of the training wheels, because he wasn’t. Garrett rode around on that bike with training wheels for quite a while…so long, in fact that eventually, one of the training wheels fell off. Even then, Garrett didn’t feel the need to take off the other training wheel. No, he rode around on three wheels until the other training wheel broke off, probably during a leaning turn that only a kid who doesn’t need training wheels can make. And so it was that Garrett learned that he didn’t need training wheels, and probably hadn’t for some time.

Not all of Garrett’s antics were on his own, of course. His sisters, Michelle and Lacey got in on some of them too. I’m sure you think you know what to do with a sleeping bag, but you would be wrong. A sleeping bag isn’t just for sleeping. No, it makes a perfect sled too. The three kids used to get on the sleeping bags and slide down the stairs in the classic style of the Home Alone movies. The biggest problem was that unlike the Home Alone movie, where McCauley Calkin used the sled and went right out the front door, their stairs ended with a wall a very short distance away. Nevertheless, the fun continued until one of the kids hit the wall a little too hard and ended up crying. Then Alena had to make them stop.
Garrett & Kayla
Those days of being a silly little boy are long gone now, but Garrett is still a joker in any way he can think up. I guess some things will never change…or will they. These days Garrett is busy making plans of a different kind. He is ready to take the next big step in his life, as he and his fiancée, Kayla Smiley plan their wedding to take place some time next summer. Their marriage, however, will probably not change Garrett’s funny side. While Garrett is the kind of man who is always ready to help whenever he is needed, he also still loves to pull pranks and other jokes on people whenever he can. I’m quite sure that they will never have a dull moment in their lives together. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Snowball FightThe older I get, the less I seem to be able to tolerate Winter. The early winter storms we have received this year…in the fall, have done nothing to improve the feeling of dread I get as Winter approaches. It wasn’t always that way, of course. As a kid, I can remember being more than ready to go outside when it snowed. Building snowmen and making snow angels always seemed like so much fun. And, if you could get someone to push you on a sled, then you really had a great time. Snowball fights and snow forts are a must for winter fun, and it didn’t matter if you could throw a snowball with any accuracy or not.

I do remember those days…when I associated snow with fun, and somehow managed to forget how cold playing outside in Winter made me. Was I warmer then, somehow…or was it that I had more energy to do more moving back then? I suppose that it could be a bit of both, and no matter what the reason was, I just don’t seem to have that same ability to stay warm any more. Sometimes, I wish I did, because I’m going to be living in Casper, Wyoming, and like it or not, we get Winter here in Wyoming.

There will always be kids, who can’t wait to get out there in the snow, and some of those “kids” will likely be of the adult kind, but there will also always those who, like me, are Seriously, no we had it firstseriously over the cold. My sister-in-law, Jennifer loves to go skiing, my sister, Allyn’s family love to get out there in the snow, and my sister, Cheryl loves the cold, although not really the snow. They can have it if you ask me, because I am a definite Summer person…ok maybe Spring…but definitely not Winter.

As it says in the Bible, “there is a time to every purpose under Heaven” and I guess that applies to the Winter cold too. There is a time when kids love the cold and the fun they can have there, and then there is a time when these same kids, now adults find themselves feeling totally over the Winter…and it hasn’t even started yet!

Caalab & the deep snow 4.17.2013Mountain Snow 4-17-2013Since the snow began in Casper, on April 8, 2013, we have had around 32 inches of snow, which, of course, varies depending on where you are in town. Since the storms took place over a number of days, some of it melted in between storms. Now if you happen to live on the mountain…like my friend Becky and her husband, Darren, your world looks…just a bit different than the rest of town. According to Becky, they have had between 48 and 54 inches…maybe more, since the wind has been blowing it around up there.

All the kids in town expected to have a snow day with the first storm, so when morning arrived, along with what most of us assumed was enough snow to call school off, and school was still on, the kids were justifiably annoyed. The comments on Facebook flew back and forth expressing their irritation. At that point, I mentioned to my grandkids that they should have watched the movie, “Snow Day” because it would explain to them, the best way to arrange a Snow Day. Well, I don’t think they took my advise, but it would seem that they found a way to get that Snow Day after all…and it didn’t involve hijacking a snow plow.

April, 2013, has decided to be like the Spring storms I remember as a kid. We used to get the kind of snow that meant that cars didn’t get around in it. People who really needed to get out had to use a snowmobile. This April storm was going to rival those storms, and the second round of the April, 2013 storm hit close enough to the first round that the snow hadn’t completely melted. That created enough problems with the roads to bring the words that every school aged child wants to hear…Snow Day. Then begins the reality of the Snow Day, because while the weather is too rough to go to school, for some reason, it is not so bad that the kids…and any parents who were able to get the snow day too…can’t get out there and play. Other kids, like my grandson, Caalab found themselves literally waist deep in drifts of snow with a shovel at not only their house, but those of the neighbors, as well.

At that point, the best mode of transportation became the sled powered by kids. After all what is a Snow Day for if not to get out a play in the snow. Suddenly kids who normally had to be pryed out of bed, jumped out of bed and could hardly wait until Digging Out 4-17-2013The best way to get aroundbreakfast was over, so they couyld get out in the snow. Of course, there are adults, like Darren, who probably felt a little bit differently about the type of play they had, and who had to use a much stronger mode of transportation…the truck with a plow. Digging out of the ton of snow on the mountain, is a lot of work, but then I suppose that the chocolate chip cherry cookies Becky made today, would help to motivate Darren in his work.

My brother-in-law, Lynn is a man who likes to make jokes. Much of his life is about being a comedian. In fact, he might have missed his true calling. He was always trying to bring out the funniness in any given situation, and if there wasn’t anything funny, particularly, then he would simply create it. He might make a face in the middle of an otherwise normal picture, or he might just pick you up and shake you…something he could do since he is 6’6″ tall, and most of the people around him aren’t even close to that, although his girls are pretty tall, as are their husbands, so the grandkids could beat him out if they are lucky.

He is like a big kid, who forgot to grow up. That said, you might find him playing kids games, or playing with kids toys anyway…but then that isn’t so awfully unusual. Most of the men I know are really just big kids anyway…including my father-in-law, who hooked up with Lynn one day and decided to go out sledding…and not just go sledding, but managed to get Lynn to pull him on the sled. Nevermind if the kids wanted to play…the sled was, shall we say, occupied.

But, one of the funniest things Lynn did, was so totally unintentional, and yet ended up being very funny, although, I don’t think my daughter, Amy thought so at the time. Amy was just 2 years old, and she loved being around her daddy, no matter what he was doing. We were living on the same land as my in-laws at that time, while we got our own land ready to move onto. Bob and Lynn were in the garage working on a car, and Amy was wandering around the garage, watching the proceedings. She was wearing a little white dress with red hearts on it. Lynn loved the little kids, and love playing with them, so when he looked down and saw Amy there…a teeny girl, by the way, who only stands 4’11” as an adult…he started talking to her. I had thought that she might have been afraid because he was so tall, but that wasn’t it. It was just that she had to look so far up to see him. As she tried to look up at her uncle, she instinctively backed up, and the next thing she knew she was sitting in a drain pan full of oil. It was so funny, you couldn’t help but laugh. I think Lynn felt bad about that one, but it wasn’t his fault…just an accidental funny moment.

These days, most of Lynn’s funniness has taken on a modern flair, because now he likes to send jokes out via text message. Every few days Bob will get some joke from Lynn. Like I’ve said before…boys just never grow up. Happy birthday Lynn. Today the joke’s on you. Check out these shots. We love you and hope you have a great day!!

When little boys get a new toy, it seems inevitable that the dads, uncles, big brothers, and even grandpas are going to help the little boy play with the new toy…especially if the toy is a cool one, like a truck with moving parts, a crane , or something cool like that. Sometimes the big boys help so much that the little boys hardly get to play at all. It seems like when girls grow up and get done playing with toys, they don’t tend to go back to them as readily…not so with men. Those toys always have their draw for men.

The funny thing about toys is that sometimes, the little boys get almost pushed aside so the big boys can play with the toys. Or better yet…it must be time for a nap right. Oh they’ll never admit it, but boys toys are pretty hard for the big boys to resist…especially considering the fact that the toys these days are more cool that when we were kids.

As boys get older, the toys do cost more but the reality is that they are still toys. Women think of a car as transportation, men have to know all the inner workings and how it all works. Oh, I know that there are exceptions to the rule. There are women mechanics and men who don’t care about how a car works, but there are still toys that big boys have. And, the types of toys are as varied as the boys.

And sometimes, The little boys don’t even have to be around with their toys for two big boys to decide to act like little boys again. On a snowy day when they are done with their work, or maybe just tired of it, a child’s sled can and a strong son-in-law can make for a great big boys toy. And if the little boys come out and want to play…well, you just tell them the same thing you told them when they first learned to play. If you had it first, you don’t have to give it up, so…seriously…we had it first!! Go find your own toys to play with.

Yep, the funny thing about boys is that they never really grow up. They might get bigger, and the toys might get more expensive, but that does not mean that they won’t want to play anyway. Boys will be boys. And boys will always have their toys.

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