I love looking at the pictures my family posts…especially the kids. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s true, but sometimes it’s the caption that really grabs me. Such was the case the other day when I looked at this picture posted by my cousin, Grace Oltman. The picture shows the smiling faces of her son, Hosea and her sister, Angel Pallas’ daughter, Hazel. These kids never cease to amaze me, because they are just being kids, after all. Grace captioned the picture with, “They will do anything for some candy.” That immediately took me back to the years when my grandchildren were little ones, and we tried so hard, sometimes in vain to get a good picture of the four of them.
As the grandma, it was my idea to do the four of them, and sometimes I think my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, thought I was crazy. In fact, sometimes I thought I was crazy. We tried everything to get them to all four smile at the same time…and I mean we tried everything, including candy, if they cooperated. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Now, looking at the pictures Grace took…which turned out amazing, by the way, I see what my problem was. She gave them the candy while they had the picture taken. What kid wouldn’t smile with a piece of chocolate in their hand? Oh, if I had only known. Of course, these little kids, Hazel, Hosea, Tenley, and Canaan, as well as cousins, Addilayde and Meadow, are definitely not strangers to the camera. Their parents take lots of pictures of them, and these kids know how to smile for the camera. I think that is why I enjoy looking at all their pictures so much. There is just nothing sweeter than looking at a smiling child…even if it is a candy smile, and even if the candy, cake, or whatever else they may enjoy having, is all over their face.
Every once in a while, however, even mom’s who take great pictures because the kids are so cooperative, will hit a bit of a snag. Such was the case when Grace took the picture of little Hosea and his little brother Canaan. Hosea was wearing his usual great smile, but Canaan needed a little help. Uh…Grace, I think you forgot the chocolate on this one, but then I guess Canaan was a teeny bit to small for that. Nevertheless, those sad face pictures can be just as cute as the ones that are all smiles. In the end, I had to promise to let my grandkids, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, do one goofy picture in order to get good smiles out of them. I guess that the moral of the story is…whatever works.
As another Father’s Day arrives, I find myself feeling less and less a part of the day. Yes, my husband, Bob and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis are here, and for them we will celebrate the day to honor them, but my dad and my father-in-law are both gone, and so this day also feels a little empty to me. I really miss my dad, and my father-in-law. Both of these men were so inspirational to me in my life, and I still miss their advise, their smiles, and their ideas about things…but mostly I just miss being able to talk with them. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to call one of them up, and for a second, I almost forget…then reality sets in…they are in Heaven now.
Having taken care of both of these men in their last years, I feel like we had a bond that not many children are given. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you get to know them very well. You know their habits, their sense of humor, the things that annoy them, and the things that make them happy. For both my dad and my father-in-law, nothing is more important than their family. They always wanted their family around them. It gave them great pleasure to know that their children loved them and wanted to be around them. I find myself thinking every day of each of them, and feeling very blessed to have had them in my life for so many years. My only regret is that they are no longer in my everyday life, like they were.
As I think about their great influence on Bob and me, I realize that had our dads not been in our lives, we would not be the parents and grandparents we are today. It was their love for us that taught us how to love our children, and then we passed that on down to our children. They were not our friends growing up, but rather, just what they should have been…our dads. They became our friends later in life. They, along with our moms, disciplined us, trained us, and in doing so, they taught us how to do the same for our children. They taught us how to live in this world, taught us our work ethic, and our love of God and country. Their sense of humor, taught us to take joy in life and not to allow depression and despair to enter into our lives. What a great tribute to them and our moms that all their children grew up and became responsible adults, who do the right things in life. I thank God for them and for my husband, Bob, and my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis…all of whom are wonderful caring dads, who have blessed us with their love and wisdom. Happy Father’s Day to all of you!!
When my grand niece, Aleesia was born…the rainbow baby of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve…we all rejoiced over the birth of their second baby girl, and that she was healthy and whole. It has been a remarkable year…a year of blessings, that followed a time of sadness over the loss of their first daughter, Laila, almost two years earlier. While Laila will never be forgotten, the first year of Aleesia’s life has been one of healing…at least to a small degree. Aleesia is everything they could have hoped for in a daughter. She is cute and sweet and full of smiles. She is the pride and joy of her parents and her three brothers.
From the moment she arrived, Aleesia wrapped the hearts of her family around her baby finger. That first little touch was like saying, “Watch out, because I’m going to steal your hearts!” Aleesia is such a sweet baby. She is so easy to please, that there has been no need to spoil her. She is easily entertained by the antics of her brothers, and they love to make her laugh. She really has her very own entertainment committee. And for their part, the boys just love to find new ways to make their baby sister laugh.
Aleesia is so quick to smile. All it takes is to say her name, and she looks at you and smiles. She is comfortable around her whole family and extended family. She is always ready to pose for the camera, mostly because we are always taking pictures of her, so that now she instinctivly knows what she is supposed to do…and she has mastered the precious smile, as well as the perfect funny face, with all her practice. Life is just exciting for this baby girl. She loves every moment of it, and that makes us all feel very blessed.
Aleesia’s brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, also feel the blessing that this past year has brought. Having a little sister is something they have wanted for a long time. She is so different than they are, but they don’t care. There is very little that the boys won’t do for Aleesia. As this first year comes to a close, however, things are changing. Aleesia has discovered that her brothers have pretty cool toys. Sometimes, she thinks that they are cooler than her own toys. They let her get away with it, but I suppose there will come a day when they decide that she should leave their toys alone. For now, however, they are just enjoying the year of blessings. With the end of Aleesia’s first year and the beginning of the second, I wonder how this will change in Aleesia’s terrible two’s. Time will tell. Today is Aleesia’s first birthday. Happy birthday baby girl!! We love you very much!! Have a blessed day!!
When you are taking a picture of a kid, you just never know what you are going to end up with. Kids show their emotions as they appear, and you can just deal with what they are feeling at the time, or just don’t bother taking the picture. Before the days of digital photos, you couldn’t even be sure if what you were getting…especially when it came to how fast the facial expressions of kids can change.
While my oldest daughter, Corrie was usually quick to smile, and pretty cooperative, my youngest daughter, Amy was more the take it or leave it kid. Those pictures could be so funny. Corrie was smiling, and you wondered who pinched Amy. Their kids seemed to follow suit too. Corrie’s oldest child, Christopher was all smiles, while Amy’s daughter, Shai can come up with some amazing take it or leave it shots.
I know lots of people would think that those angry faced shots would be something you would purge from the camera as worthless, but if you wait to delete them for a while, you might find that you really like those pictures too. They show the ways of children. Kids are so honest about there feelings and their moods. They don’t care if people see them crying, pouting, or angry, they just feel what they feel and you get to deal with the outbursts.
What I have found as I have looked at those grouchy pictures, is that after that frustrating moment lacking in cooperation is over, those grouchy faces can be very funny. I don’t suppose the child would think so…at least not at the time, but as they grow up, and especially after they have children of their own, they can appreciate just how funny those shots can be. So the next time you are tempted to delete a picture of your child that is sporting a grouchy face, wait a while, and try to look at that picture after the moment of frustration has passed, and see if you don’t think, as I did, that that grouchy face just might be the one you was as your wallpaper on your cell phone or computer, because it has a way of putting a smile on your face.
Some people are just naturally happy. That is exactly what I have seen of my husband, Bob throughout our life together, and from the pictures taken during his childhood. Bob’s family took many pictures when the kids were little, and many were spontaneous, so the smiles could not have been planned, and yet, there they were, planted squarely on Bob’s little face. I have looked through a lot of old pictures from when Bob was little, and it’s easy to see the great sense of humor he has.
Bob has always liked things that make him laugh. Two of his all time favorite shows are “The Three Stooges” and “Laurel and Hardy”. In fact, Bob can do a perfect imitation of Stan Laurel when he was doing his whiney face/rub the head thing. It makes me laugh every time he does it. When I am in another room, and Bob is watching a comedy that makes him start laughing, I can’t help but laugh too, because his laugh is contageous. He loves a good comedy show or movie!! He’s not into some of today’s stupid comedy, but the good old fashioned, truly funny comedy…now that’s funny and he could watch it all day.
Of course, laughing at good comedy isn’t the only way to get a laugh. Making other people laugh is just as much fun, and Bob is quite good at that too. He loves to make faces designed to make people laugh, in fact, quite often when you are trying to get him to pose for a picture, you might very likely get a stick out your tongue moment instead of a smile, because he wants to turn the situation around and make you laugh. Our girls are very used to the things their dad might do to get them to laugh, but even they can’t help but laugh to the point of making a face too…it’s just that funny. There really is nothing quite like a good laugh.
I grew up in an age when people spanked their kids. In fact, I can’t think of one friend who never had a spanking. And my mother could discipline with the best of them. I just don’t think she liked it much. Oh, she could get in there and scream as well as anyone, and she wasn’t a push-over by any stretch of the imagination. But, in reality, I don’t think that she really liked all the screaming and arguing that went on in a house full of girls. You see, my dad was the only man, or boy in the house for all of our young years. Counting mom, it was 6 to 1.
Raising 5 girls with all of the emotions that can go on with 5 drama queens, I can’t help but wonder how she managed to keep her sanity. Part of her way was to tell us, “Just wait until your dad gets home!!” And it was a threat that would bring fear to our hearts, although I don’t exactly know why. My dad had a way of working out a situation without the need for a spanking, much of the time. Mom’s big threat was all the trouble we were going to be in when dad got home, and believe me, if you deserved it, you got it…big time, but if it could be worked out without a spanking, dad could do it. He really didn’t spank us much, we just knew that if he did…boy were we going to wish he hadn’t had to.
Mom’s way, on the other hand…whenever possible anyway, was to spread the sunshine and smiles. I remember that even if we had all been screaming and fighting, when all was said and done, Mom would sing some song like, “Let a smile be your umbrella, on a rainy, rainy day.” Or she might sing, “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life.” Anything to stop the fighting and hopefully put a little cheer back into the house. Mom always hated the fighting that could go on in a house full of girls with very different points of view…and believe me, we could go at it. So much so that sometimes Mom would just decide that if fighting was what we wanted to do, we were going to do it!! Have you ever tried to fight on demand? It has a way of making you feel really ridiculous. At some point, you give up and end up laughing about the whole thing. I guess she was a pretty wise woman.
Mom always wanted her kids to be happy. She wanted our lives to be…just a little bit like living in Perfect. And while she knew that there was no real place like Perfect, she knew that her words and songs could add a little sunshine to our lives, so that has always been her goal. To this day, whenever we seem down in the dumps, or life is filled with stress, we can count on Mom to tell us, “Keep on the sunny side!!” That is just how she is. it’s who she is…the Keeper of the Sunshine!!