January 2009

All Around the House at the Spiker Family Gathering Place

Navigating our website is like going from room to room at the Spiker farm. Here's how it works.

All Around the House - at the Spiker Family Gathering Place

Written by: Bobbi Spiker-Conley

We call my husband “Mr. Christmas.” He truly enjoys the holiday and loves decorating every square inch of our home – inside and out. One guest at our annual Christmas Party, after exiting the overly decorated bathroom, asked if we could possibly have any MORE decorations. I wondered if we “overdo”. Gary, of course, thinks we can never do enough.

I love his holiday spirit. He single-handedly transforms our Florida home into a Winter Wonderland (complete with snow!) I have only one duty – reorganize the house to accommodate his displays. The problem arises AFTER the holidays when I am forced to remember where I temporarily stored all the stuff that needed to be hidden away.

I reach under the beds, peek inside the closets and check every cabinet. The remote control? In the top dresser drawer. The ping-pong paddles? In a box on the closet floor. The keyboard stand? Folded up behind the bookshelf. Gary does not get involved. He doesn’t try to find the stored items. And he certainly does not put any of it away. (After all, if he can’t remember where we keep the game room remote the REST of the year, why would I expect him to know where to put it after the holidays???!!!) But since he does all the decorating – and all the un-decorating – I don’t mind the small inconvenience caused by this change in routine. Sooner or later I’ll find a place for everything.

It was during this annual hide-and-seek ritual that my sister, Cathy, told me she couldn’t locate the “Leader Board” on our family website. She had played our most recent game and wanted to see how she scored, but had forgotten to bookmark the page. Apparently she, too, was experiencing difficulty finding things around the house. Presuming others may be having similar problems, I felt this would be a good time to walk our readers through the rooms of the Spiker Family Gathering Place letting you know where I’ve placed all the stuff you may have been missing (like Gary’s game room remote.)

Finding your favorite things may be easier if you understand how everything is organized. You see, my goal in building this site was to create a place where our family could easily get together in one location, similar to the way we do at the annual reunions (but more frequently and without the long drive.) And since the reunions are almost always held at the Spiker Farm, it made sense to build the site’s navigational structure on this familiar foundation – you can “stroll from room to room” in our “home” and “venture out to the garden.”

So the first thing to do when you arrive at our “house” is to “grab the Gazette” from the Newspaper Box. This is where you’ll learn about any new additions or updates to the site, (such as when we change the Leader Board) in addition to announcements about what has been going on in our “neighborhood.” Then just tuck the newspaper under your arm and head inside…

Some “household items” are easy to find. For obvious reasons, the recipe cards from our family cookbook are in the Kitchen. The card catalogue of books written by, and about, our family is in the Library. (Personal note to Gary: also for obvious reasons, the game room remote is in… the game room.)

Many other common “household items” are scattered about the Living Room. Here you’ll find a calendar of events hanging on the “wall”, several photo albums stacked on the “coffee table”, and links to family member’s personal websites organized on the “computer.” This room is also where we gather to play some of our favorite family games. (Note to Cathy: you can find the Leader Board here.)

For those that are tired of being cooped up in the house all day, how about a stroll through the Spiker Family Garden? Due to its meandering paths, you may not immediately notice how many varieties of “plants” are grown here. However, you can get a “birds-eye” view of the landscape by climbing the Spiker Family Tree.

Actually, there are two trees – a smaller one where each “leaf” reveals photos and interesting facts about Jake, Gay and their children, and a much larger one introducing the entire Spiker clan from the “roots to the canopy.”

Don’t forget to read the signs that are posted throughout the garden. Visitors are shown how they can get the kids involved in planting new seeds and how everyone can get involved to help maintain healthy trees. And we even have a section dedicated exclusively to heirloom plantings that you won’t want to miss.

Of course, no garden would be complete without a few “gardening tools” – genealogy gardening tools, that is. This is where we share some of our favorite genealogy sites on the Internet.

One final note about our “home”….just like the “real” Spiker house, our “virtual” house is maintained, updated and cleaned through the group efforts of our family. If you see a little dust…in the form of broken or outdated links…let me know and I’ll polish away the smudges. If you have an old lamp you’re willing to donate…in the form of historical insight we’d be interested in learning more about…I’ll help you shed some light on the subject by printing your recollections here. And, of course, we’d love to add your pictures, recipe cards and stories to our growing collection of books.

I hope this tour has helped you spot some of the “furnishings” we’ve stashed in the corners of our house. But if you ever need help finding a particular item, just let me know and I’ll walk you to the right place to find it. (Now if I can only find where Gary took the game room remote…)


  • Submitted by Melanie Fouse – Rachel (Finally) delivered baby number four, Caden Scott, on December 9.
  • Submitted by Jean Spiker – Shaun and Rikki will soon make Jeff and Jean the proud grandparents of THREE. As soon as we learn when Derek and Thomas may expect their new brother or sister, we’ll let you know.
  • Submitted by Willa Dean Spiker – Boots is home recovering from her recent surgery. Tests on the mass removed from her brain revealed there is no cancer.
  • Submitted by Cathy Gregis – Many of you know I had a gastric bypass three years ago. After three additional surgeries, and many complications later, I had an incisional hernia removed that was the size of a small watermelon. Four months later, the mass wasn’t getting any smaller and I was still suffering with pain. Recently the doctor performed yet another surgery to remove accumulated blood and blood clots. I’m continuing to improve every day but will continue to see the doctor frequently as I heal.
  • Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley – Cathy Gregis recently submitted a new story for our Library, titled “Biggest Snake I Ever Saw.” (After clicking on the title, scroll down to the bottom of Cathy’s Book to view this latest submission.)
  • Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley – The Game Leader Board has been updated. See who’s ahead.