Becoming parents…it’s one of the greatest events in a person’s life. October 28, 2019, was that day for my grand-niece, Siara Olsen and her husband, Nick, as they welcomed their son, Alec Todd Olsen into the world. Alec, who arrived at 9:17am, weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce, and he was 20 inches long. He is a handsome little boy, who, after making his presence known quite vocally at first, settled down to nap, because he had had a completely exhausting day. After all, being born is a lot of work!!
Alec was born on the exact day that he was due, without being induced. I wondered just how often that happens, so I looked into it. Only 4.3% of babies arrive uninduced on their due date. Wow!! That make this little boy pretty unusual. For mom’s who go beyond their due date, that post-due date wait can be grueling. Friends and family start to ask when you are “going to have” that baby, like you have a say. If a baby comes too early, its worrisome, but the closer you get to the due date, the more excited and impatient the parents, and everyone else too, get. Nevertheless, the due date hasn’t passed yet, so they wait patiently. Not so when the due date passes without the birth. That’s when the real waiting begins…the waiting that feels like an eternity. I think Alec, being the sweetie he is, wanted to save his parents from that post-due date wait. Good job Alec!!
It is so hard to believe that these two “kids” are not kids anymore, but rather they have a child. It is something they have both looked forward to for a long time, and something that we have all been very excited about too. These two “kids” made such a beautiful baby boy, and he is a true miracle from God. Siara, at 4 foot 9 inches, always wanted to be taller. I remember telling her that she would need to get some heels for that. I think that her son will not have such a problem. At 8 pounds 1 ounce, and 20 inches long, I think he as a pretty good start, and since Nick is 6 foot 4 inches tall, I think Alec has a good chance to be tall. Welcome to the world, Alec Todd Olsen. We are so happy you are here.
When I asked his dad what was new with my grand-nephew, Zack Spethman, the first thing he said was, “He’s tall.” And that is the truth. Zack has literally shot up in height in the past couple of years. It shocks me every time I see him. I pretty much have to stand on my tip toes just to give him a hug. While Zack is the second son of my niece, Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve, I have a feeling that he might be the tallest person in his family. It’s hard to say, because the boys still have some growing to do, but at this point, Zack is most definitely in the lead.
Zack is such a loving, sweet natured young man, and he is never afraid to show people that he loves them. Many teenagers…especially boys are worried about the hit their “image” might take, if they are seen hugging their mom, dad, or aunts and uncles in public, but Zack doesn’t care about all that. Zack’s sweet nature doesn’t make him a wimp, just the opposite in fact. Zack is great in sports, and a great protector of those he cares about. Zack knows how to shoot a gun, and after passing hunter safety a year or so ago, he is also a great hunter. Zack and his brothers, Xander and Isaac, love to do the same things their dad is doing. From guns to snowmobiles to swimming to hiking, they are all in!!
Of course, these boys aren’t too proud to play with their little sister, Aleesia, and help he with anything she needs. They treat her like a princess, and she loves each and every one of them. Zack is also a perfect gentleman at school, and his teachers all think the world of him. He is never on to get into trouble, and rather is the first one to offer assistance whenever it is needed. He makes his parents, and the rest of the family, very proud of him, and I know that he will continue to turn into a wonderful young man. Today is Zack’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandniece, Siara Harman is a tiny little girl, just 4 feet 9 inches tall, but don’t let that fool you, because she is one tough cookie. She works out, and she’s really strong. After high school, Siara spent a year in Great Falls, Montana going to school, and representing the college as a cheerleader. During that year, she worked out and cheered at a pace most of us would find exhausting. Nevertheless, Siara took it all on stride. After that year, Siara returned home, mostly because she missed her family, I think…especially her mom, but also to continue her studies in her home town.
Siara is the type of person who takes time to decide to commit to most things, but once she does, she is all in. After her mom, my niece, Chantel Balcerzak remarried, it took Siara 18 months before she started calling her step-dad, Dave Balcerzak, “Dad.” Her brother, Jake Harman was much quicker to accept his step-dad. Nevertheless, once Siara committed to calling Dave “Dad,” she was in, wholeheartedly, and as far as she is concerned, Dave is her dad. Commitment, while not forthcoming, is something Siara takes very seriously.
Over the years, Siara has had a number of boyfriends, but once again she was very slow to commit to any of them. Siara was in two serious relationships before her current relationship, but once the conversation turned to marriage, her mom could always tell that it was, “Nope, not yet.” Her heart couldn’t move in that direction yet. With her fiancé, Nick Olsen, things would be different. While she and Nick have been dating for a while now, it took Siara only two week to tell her mom that, “No matter when he asks, the answer is yes.” I guess that when it’s the right one, commitment is easy. Siara and Nick will be married this summer.
As I said, Siara is a tiny, short little girl, and I recall that a few years ago…before she was “fully” grown, she told me that she wanted to be 5 feet 7 inches tall…an impossibility for our little Siara, who is full grown at 4 feet 9 inches. Knowing that she would never achieve that lofty goal, I told her to wear high heels, because that was going to be the only way she would ever be taller. She took my advise, and these days, with heels she is over 5 feet, anyway. Siara has decided that she is not going to take that chance with there kids, so she is going to marry a tall man. Of course, it wasn’t his height that won Siara’s love, but rather his heart. Still, Nick’s height was not a negative to Sara, even if he practically has to pick her up to kiss her. The really good news is that since Siara loves a very tall man, her kids might have a chance to be taller than she is. I guess that’s some consolation to Siara’s height dilemma. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Most of my friends know that I love shoes. In fact, that is truly an understatement. I have shoes for every need and for every outfit. I have hiking shoes, sandals, shoes for jeans, boots…lots of boots, and of course, heels…of every color, height, and style from low heels to platform heels, and even funky heels. Yes, I love shoes. But there is a line that even I won’t cross.
Over the centuries in many areas of the world, shoe style was really a show of status. And in some countries, the size of a woman’s foot was so important that women would stuff their feet into shoes that would fit a young child. Those women were so intent on making their feet small, that they would perform a procedure on them called foot binding. It is a crazy way of tying the toes in such a way, so as to make a point of the front of the foot. The foot was then bent almost in half to fit in a shoe for a young child. I think every woman would like her feet to be smaller, at least every woman who wears size seven or above, but foot binding is extreme.
I love platform heels, but some styles…both old and new, are ridiculous. When the platform is so high, and made of something with no give to it, or has no heel on it, the woman wearing the heel really can’t even walk by themselves. And believe me, I would need help too, and I’m used to platforms. It’s just that these aren’t platforms. No, they are stilts!! Platforms have been a tradition for a very long time in Europe, clear back to the 17th century, and then they were out of fashion until the 20th century. Really, it wasn’t until Ferragamo reintroduced them in the 1930s that platforms came back in style. In 2009, an exhibition was organized, with an accompanying catalog on the topic of these elevating shoes, titled “On A Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels.” Chopines, which were also known as zoccoli or pianelle, are a platform shoe up to 20 inches high. Of course, those who wore them required the help of servants so that they didn’t fall flat on their face…in the name of fashion. The idea of chopines, besides being a fashion statement, was to protect the wearer’s clothes from street mud. Never mind the servant’s clothes, and really, why did they have to go out in the mud anyway? They were aristocrats, couldn’t someone just carry them on a platform chair, or run their errand for them. Whatever the case may be, I will not be buying a pair of these crazy stilt platforms, should they ever come into style again.
I do love my many styles of shoes, and my platforms are among the favorites, but I draw the line at about a 3 inch platform. Much more than that, and I not only have difficulty walking, but I end up taller than everyone around me, and for me that is just too odd. I am used to being one of the “wee ones,” as my niece Kellie Hadlock calls me, and that’s ok with me. I never wanted to be tall anyway. I’ll let my platforms make me look tall. I’m good with that!!
When your youngest child reaches driving age, you most likely find yourself breathing a sigh of relief, because they can get themselves to their own functions, to school, and home again. You are also feeling a little bit apprehensive, because they are driving now. Nevertheless, you have trained them well, and you know they will be alright. When your youngest grandchild reaches driving age, you might breathe a sign of relief too, but you also suddenly feel like the years are racing by…whether you like it or not. That is exactly how I am feeling today, as my youngest grandchild, Josh Petersen turns sixteen.
I remember the day that he was born…five weeks early…the same day that he was flown to Denver, because his lungs were not quite fully developed. He would spend two weeks there, and then come home to begin the race to catch up…and it didn’t take him very long at all. I don’t think I have ever seen such a hungry kid…nor one who loved sweets as much as Josh did. His cute little “treat Grandma” was always the first thing out of his mouth when he arrived at my house. Like I could forget that he was hungry. With the way he ate, I think I expected him to be a chubby little kid, but that was not the case. Josh is tall and slender, a runner with great lung capacity, and 100% healthy. I couldn’t have asked for more for him.
Somehow in my mind, I have always seen Josh as a lot younger than the other grandkids. He isn’t, and he doesn’t act any different. It’s just my mind’s defense system, I think, making me feel like there are so many more years left that he will be the baby of the bunch, but the reality is that he is not a baby anymore. He is a young man, who is ready to set out by himself…at least in the area of transportation, because as of today, he is legal to drive by himself. No more will he need to have us come to take him places or pick him up on a regular basis. Those things will now be relegated to times when his pickup breaks down or something. Oh, he may need to have someone run home to get something he’s forgotten and bring it to him, but I suspect that those times will get fewer and further in between as time goes on.
As Josh turns sixteen, many things in the Petersen family will change again. It is how life goes, and nothing we do can change it. Kids grow up and become adults, and before you know it they are married with families of their own, and you find out that you have become the grandparent. There is no way to stop time, and for me that means that my youngest grandchild is growing up. Look out folks, Josh Petersen in a legal driver and on the road. I’d tell you to clear the sidewalks, but I think he will do alright. Today is Josh’s 16th birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Remember that I have confidence on you, so stay off the sidewalks…with your truck anyway. Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, James Renville is the typical tall, dark, and handsome type of guy, who makes the girls absolutely swoon and wish he would take notice of them. I’m told that somehow, James doesn’t know that he is cute, and since he is a little bit shy, he basically leaves all those girls sadly wishing that he would just ask them out. I’m sure he does notice them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he does anything about it.
It’s funny, in my memory files, I can still see James as a little Elvis look alike who was always very much into swords and ninja stuff. It is so hard to believe that he is almost grown up. Next year he will be graduating from high school and his kid years will be behind him forever. I don’t know what he plans to do after high school, but he has another year to figure that out, so I’m sure he will get all of that together by the time he graduates.
James has always been a quiet kid, which tells me that he has a lot of thoughts in his head that he is concentrating on. That reminds me a bit of myself. Your mind is always running. It’s almost entertaining all by itself. It’s like it sits there and explores all the possibilities there might be in life. Who knows maybe James will take after his Great Aunt Caryn and start writing. Time will tell. For now, James is spending his summer working at The Gap and hanging out with friends and family.
My mom had always wanted to have a grandchild who was born on her dad’s birthday, but none of her kids managed to accomplish that. Alena came the closest with her son, Garrett, but still missed it by one day. My niece, Toni finally got the job done when she gave Mom a great grandson, who was born on Grandpa Byer’s birthday. That was quite exciting for Mom. Today is James’ 17th birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!
My youngest grandchild is turning 15 today. That means that all of my grandchildren will be driving in some capacity. Three have their driver’s license, and now Josh will have his learner’s permit. It’s a very strange feeling when all of your grandchildren are driving. It brings you to a place of wondering where the years have gone, and how they could have gone by so very fast. It seems like only yesterday that my daughters were getting their licenses, and now my last grandchild is taking that step too. Josh has been studying like crazy for his test. Some kids don’t study and some do ok, but Josh doesn’t want to take any chances.
Like his brother, Josh already has a car, or in his case a pickup. He has been making payments to his parents to buy the family’s extra vehicle, and he’s doing a pretty good job making those payments, especially since he doesn’t have a job yet. He has been mowing lawns and other odd jobs to earn money, but now that he is 15, he is hoping to find a real job. I suppose that we will no longer have someone to mow our lawn now…but you never know, perhaps one of our grandsons will take pity on their grandpa and do that job for him.
Josh is a hard working student, and he proudly told me the other day that he has straight A’s. I know it is early in the year, but Josh hates to have grades that are not A’s, so he keep close tabs on his grades. It’s not that school is easy for Josh, because he has to work hard for his grades. He just doesn’t want to find out that he has a lot of catching up to do at the end of the quarter. It is the best way to do things, I’m sure you will agree.
While all of Josh’s accomplishments have made me so very proud of him, the thing about Josh that has most surprised me is the fact that he has grown so tall and slender. Josh was born 5 weeks prematurely, and spent two weeks in Denver in the neo-natal ICU. When he came home, he set himself to the task of catching up. He ate and ate…even getting a little chunky…until he started to walk, that is. That was the last time he was chunky. Now with the added height, he seems even more slender…but it is just normal for him. He towers over me now, and…yes, he loves that too. So much has changed in Josh’s life, it has been like watching a movie in hyper-speed sometimes. Today is Josh’s birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
There are people out there, who are just always happy. My niece Kellie is like that. Things just don’t get under her skin, like they do for most of us. I guess there just isn’t room for bothersome things with Kellie, because silliness and giggles live there. Don’t get me wrong, Kellie is a hard worker, and she can be serious if the situation warrants it, but she much prefers to be funny. She loves to make people laugh, and what better trait to have than that. Of course, Kellie comes by it honestly. Her whole family is like that. The girls have nicknames for each other, like Jeff for Jessi, and Lance for Lindsay. And their mom, my sister has nicknames for the kids too, like Baby Jessi (which she still is called today) Squirrel (which Lindsay is also still called), the boy (for Ryan, of course), and Pretty, Teeny, Sweet, and Little (which definitely doesn’t fit Kellie now, as the tallest girl). And Kellie also has a nickname from her sister-in-law, Chelsea…Keeker, which I think is quite cute too. And Kellie makes sure she gets in on the nicknames too, because since several of us are on the short side, and she is tall, we have been dubbed the wee ones.
As I have said, Kellie is tall. She is actually 5’11” tall. When she was in high school, and playing basketball, her coach used to say that she was 6 feet tall, as a way of intimidation for the other team. Well, as I said, Kellie likes to laugh, and that always struck her as very funny, so she would be out on the court, playing, and she couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, the coach had a different plan in mind for Kellie. When he said that she was 6 feet tall, he was envisioning a mean looking player that would scare the socks off the other team. Kellie was a good player, but she didn’t have a mean or intimidating bone in her body, so he tried to help make that happen…by yelling out to her, “Kellie! Stop smiling!” Now telling Kellie to stop laughing or smiling, is like telling her to stop breathing. It just wasn’t going to happen.
And Kellie had the same problems in her gym class. She just can’t stop laughing. One time in gym class, the teacher heard the normal bout of laughter, and of course, knew exactly who was doing the laughing. The teacher yelled out, “Kellie! Shut up!” Suddenly, there was silence in the room…pretty unexpected I’m sure. Then, out of the silence, someone said, “Kellie isn’t here today.” Now I don’t know about you, but I would have totally lost it right about then…as I’m quite sure the rest of the class did. I would have loved to see the teacher’s face right then too. Hahahahahaha!! Classic!!! Today is Kellie’s birthday!! And just as soon as I stop laughing, I’m going to tell her happy birthday. Love you Kellie!! Happy birthday, and have a great day!! And…don’t be so serious…smile sometimes!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!
I have known my brother-in-law since he was six years old. He was such a cute little boy, and he absolutely adored his big brother. Bob and Ron were the only boys in the family, and I guess to a degree that meant sticking together…especially with 4 sisters in the family. Ron is 14 years younger than Bob, so anything that Bob did was cool as far as Ron was concerned, right from the very start. Maybe that is why Ron thought I was ok too, when I came along. Of course, I don’t suppose it hurt anything that he got to go along on dates…or at least the ice cream ones.
When Bob and I got married, Ron was seven. He was excited about it, because by then, he and I had become good friends. In fact, I became a goal of sorts to Ron. Now, I know that sounds odd, but the goal was to get as tall as I was. For those of you who know me…well, you know that tall is not a word that could be used to describe me. At 5’2″ tall, it doesn’t take long for a boy to pass me in height. Nevertheless, that was Ron’s big goal.
Every time we went out to my in-law’s house, Ron wanted to measure to see if he was as tall as I was yet. I can’t tell you how many times we measured over the years, but I can tell you that it was a lot. I always humored him, telling him that he was getting up there. And he always loved it when the measurement showed that he had gained some height. He just knew that he would get there the next time.
As the years went by, Ron began to realize that this goal of his was going to take some time. It was at that time that he began to measure less, but still he didn’t quit. The measurements were more like every month or so. And as the months went by, I could see the writing on the wall. Very soon Ron’s goal would be met, and he would find out very quickly that 5’2″ wasn’t something to write home about.
Finally, that big day arrived. Ron measured, and found out that he was indeed as tall as me. I will never forget the look on his face. When he measured that day, and Ron finally discovered that he was as tall as I was, his face lit up with excitement. He had achieved a new level of manhood. Then, he looked at the rest of the adults in the room…most of whom were still taller than he was, and his expression changed. His face took on a look of disappointed surprise…it finally hit him. After all those long years of waiting and working to be as tall as I was really meant nothing at all, because it finally became very clear to Ron that 5’2″ is…well, short!!
It has been a long standing tradition to have a New Years Eve Party at my mother’s house because her birthday is on New Years Day. Another long standing tradition was the annual checking of all the grandchildren’s heights. Each child got to get their mark, and when we were all done, everyone looked to see how much everyone had grown…or in some cases in our family, not grown. After a while, the adults wanted in too, so we all got measured. My brother-in-law, Chris was and is the reigning King of Height in our family, but for a while there we weren’t so sure. It appeared that his son Ryan might have a chance to pass Chris up, but in the end, that did not happen.
We have a wide range of heights in our family…and I’m talking about the adults. From little Siara, who at nearly 18 years of age, comes screaming in at 4’9″, to Chris who stands 6’4″. And our family isn’t small in numbers either with 57 current members, so that door got pretty crowded after a while, and the prior years weren’t erased, so everyone could see how far they had come in a year.
Some of us just knew that we would be neither a contender for the tallest or the shortest member, but would fall somewhere in the middle. We have had several of the little girls vying for the shortest girl. Chantel, Amy, Siara, Christina, and Shai all come in under 5′. We have several girls in the barely 5′ range, those being, Cheryl, Corrie, Liz, and Jenny. The rest of us fall somewhere in between 5’2″ and 5’11” until you get to some of the guys. Some of them fall in the 6′ and above range, with Ryan at 6’3″ and his dad, Chris at 6’4″.
We all looked at the door off and on, because it was a novelty item. It held so many years of growth for so many people. It isn’t often that you can look back at a glance…at least not for most of us. Most parents keep track of how tall their kids are for a while, but after a time, they forget, and skip a year here and there, until finally they give up all together. Our tradition was remembered, because one or more of the kids always brought it up on New Years Eve.