Grandchildren

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A few days ago…September 13, 2017, to be exact, Greenville, North Carolina got a new citizen. Her name is Mackenzie Rose Moore, and she is absolutely beautiful. Mackenzie decided to arrive a little over two weeks before her due date, and once she made that decision, she took immediate action. Her mommy, my niece, Lindsay Moore was only in labor thirteen hours and twenty minutes…very fast for the first baby, but Mackenzie was in a hurry to meet her parents. Mackenzie’s daddy, Shannon Moore is the special teams coach at Eastern Carolina University, and so Mackenzie knew that she had to start getting to the games to show her support for her daddy, after all, she was going to be Daddy’s Girl. My guess is that she will be one of his biggest cheerleaders. In fact, she has been working on her cheer moves, and her daddy has already had her visit the sidelines to meet the team…and they all love their newest little cheerleader. Mackenzie’s daddy couldn’t possibly be any more proud of her. She is his little princess…and that’s as it should be.

I love that my niece, Lindsay gets to work from home, because that means that little Mackenzie Rose will get to spend lots of time with her mommy, doing all the girly things like shopping, manicures, and hair styling. She and her mommy will be the best of friends, and will work together to make a wonderful home for her daddy. Mackenzie will learn all about good nutrition and exercise from her mommy, and they will have lots of fun playing, going for jogs…with Mackenzie in a stroller, of course…at least at first. When I look at Lindsay with Mackenzie, I can just feel the love between them, and it is so special. I am so happy for Lindsay and Shannon. Their family has now taken on a new dimension. Their love has gone to the next level. It has expanded into a whole new person, and that is very special.

Mackenzie has also been getting to know her grandma, my sister Allyn Hadlock this week. The minute Allyn knew that Lindsay was in labor, she had planned to get on a plane headed for North Carolina, but Mackenzie just couldn’t wait that long. Allyn was so excited to be a grandma again, and she had hoped to be there before the baby’s birth, but she would have had to go in Star Trek style…Beam me up Scotty…if she was going to make it in time for this speedy little girl. Nevertheless, before her first day was over, Mackenzie got to meet her grandma. It was a late day, for sure, but Mackenzie Rose had to stay awake to meet her grandma. Some things are really important, and meeting grandparents is pretty close to the top of the list…right behind meeting one’s parents. We are all so excited for Lindsay and Shannon on their new little baby girl, and we can’t wait to meet her when they visit Casper. We love you little Mackenzie Rose Moore!!

Motivating your child to get good grades is a difficult task sometimes. Let’s face it, a child who struggles in school, doesn’t see getting a dollar for each “A” grade, as being an achievable prize. Of course, the goal has to be something the child can do, or they will give up before they start, so for a child who struggles, the dollar might be for a “C” or something. Maybe the goal needs to be broken down by weeks to help the struggling student, or even by assignment. When you have a student who struggles with school, you will pretty much do anything…including treats to get them to try harder to get good grades, because as we all know, a student who excels in school, can almost write their own ticket in life. College and jobs even come easier for them.

With all that being said, I suppose that I will sound like my parents, who like most parents of people my age, walked ten miles to school, uphill both ways, but when I was in school, we didn’t get rewarded for our grades. Maybe it just wasn’t done then, but for us, that was the way it was. So when I hear of paying a child for grades, I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not exactly opposed to paying for grades, because it is the child’s job, after all, and I expect to be paid for my work. Still, by the same token, I would have to wonder if it shouldn’t also be that a poor grade costs the child then. I mean, if I am a great driver, and I get a speeding ticket, I have to pay the penalty too, even if I haven’t had one in ten years. And shouldn’t a child just naturally want to learn things. No, not really. When I was in grade school, history was the most boring subject in existence, and yet today, I research events in history for my stories. I guess that if it is something you really love, you don’t need any motivation, but if it isn’t something you really love, no matter how big the amount of motivation you are offered, it will not make you love that subject.

Still, some people take things a little be too far, in my opinion. Such was the case in a story I read the other day. It went like this: “My elder brother has a son. He has just started school. My brother buys him toys, different devices, and new clothes to motivate him. When I was in my first year in school, he promised me that if I finished school with excellent grades, I would be able to have a tooth made of gold. I was really enthusiastic for many years.” Now, I don’t know about you, but a gold tooth would not really motivate me to get better grades. Still, to each his own. I suppose that to a young boy, a gold tooth might sound like the coolest thing ever…at least for a time. As you read in the story, even that great motivator didn’t do the trick forever.

Like most things, as kids get older, that dollar isn’t quite the motivator it used to be either. Kids, these days, know how little a dollar can buy, and when you think about it, it’s really hard for a kid to stay motivated for nine weeks…just to make a dollar. I guess that if parents are going to use a reward system motivator, they are going to have to keep up with the times, and upgrade that motivator periodically so it will be the study aid they are hoping for. Or maybe my parents had the right idea after all, which was pretty much, get good grades…or else!! And I think I’ll leave that right there.

I realize that everyone who has a goal in mind for their life, must be focused on that goal, in order to achieve it, but I find that very few people say that they want to do a certain thing when they are in high school, and then follow through to achieve that goal. My grandson, Josh Petersen is such a focused young man. He wants to be a firefighter and EMT, and he just keeps taking the steps that he knows are necessary to get there. He completed some of the Fire Science classes in high school, using the Boces program, and now that he is in college, he just keeps moving forward toward his goal. I am very proud of his accomplishments thus far, and I look forward to all the great things he is going to do in the future. During the Boces classes, one of the instructors took Josh under his wing, and continues to mentor him as he moves forward. I don’t think his instructor had ever had a high school student the Fire Science class. The mentoring has really helped Josh, because he has been advised on which classes to take in order to better proceed through his requirements.

One of the most recent classes that Josh is taking is one that I am very excited about. He is in the current EMT course that is offered through the Bar Nunn, Wyoming fire department. I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that when this class is over, my grandson will be ready for state licensing tests to become an EMT…and he will only be 19 years old. That makes me very proud. Josh is enjoying the classes, but really looks forward to the clinical part of the training, when he actually works with patients. That makes sense. Every EMT, nurse, CNA, or other health care professional wants to move beyond the learning stages and get to doing the work. When I asked Josh about his class, he told me that it was interesting, but he was looking forward to the clinical training. He is always keeping his eyes on the prize, and that makes me very proud.

Of course, Josh is still very focused on his training to be a firefighter too. He loves everything firefighter. He loves t-shirts and tattoos that have anything to do with firefighting or EMT work. Everything he does these days is to further himself toward the ultimate goal. That takes determination and drive. He loves volunteer work too, especially if it is sponsored by the fire department. I’m sure that every time he sees anything about a fire, he wishes he could be there to help with the efforts to put the fire out. I know that with Josh’s focus and determination, he will become an amazing firefighter and EMT. We are so proud of him. Today is Josh’s 19th birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg’s birthday approached this year, I have found myself thinking a lot about the man who was like a second dad to me for 38 years. As with my parents, I still find it hard to believe that he is gone, and yet it has been more than four years already. There are many things I really miss about my father-in-law. One of the main ones would be his smile. Whenever we were at his house, he was always so genuinely happy to see us, and his smile made that so clear. He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was an experienced teaser, and since I come from a family of teasers, we always got along well. In his last years, I had the privilege of taking care of him, and I can honestly say that it was a privilege, and a blessing to be able to spend that time with him. We talked about family history a lot, and he helped me to fill in a lot of the holes in that side of the family. And we just talked about life and the past. Those were sweet times.

My father-in-law was always there to pitch in and lend a helping hand. He worked hard until the job was done. I always called him a workaholic, and I wasn’t kidding, nor was I wrong. He instilled that same work ethic in his children, all of whom are hard workers too. His philosophy was that you should work hard until the job was done, and done right. He believed that if a job was worth doing, it was worth doing right. He took that work ethic with him to the various job he did over the years, and each one was very sorry to see him move on.

He worked hard, but the really important thing in his life was his family. They were his top priority. He loved every baby, grandbaby, and great grandbaby with all his heart. He made toys for them, played games with them, and let them “help” with the jobs he was working on at home, teaching them the ropes as they went along. Every one of the kids and grandkids had a chance to help Grandpa with his work, and they all loved to be able to do so. He never made them feel like they were in the way. Of course, they most enjoyed playing with him, but what child wouldn’t? He was a dear dad and grandfather to every one of the children and grandchildren, a well as to his sons and daughters-in-law. I feel very privileged to have known him. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 88th birthday. I wish he were here so we could all celebrate it with him. Happy birthday in Heaven Dad. We love and miss you very much.

My brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has always loved the outdoors. In fact, for years, he my sister, Allyn and their family have gone camping during his birthday week. They usually go to Red Lodge, Montana, but this year he and Allyn did something a little different. This year, they went to Canada to spend the week in a houseboat, along with my sister, Caryl Reed and her husband, Mike; and my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband Mike. I know they are going to have a great time, and I can’t wait to see pictures of their trip. It’s such a unique kind of a trip, and I know they are all going to have a really great week. It will be a trip to remember, that’s for sure.

This year seems to be shaping up to be one of change for Chris. He retired from the Casper Police Department on June 30th, after 27 years in law enforcement. During those yeas, he served the people of Casper and Natrona County capably and honorably. It has been a strange things for all of us to know that Chris is no longer a police officer. I also think that his retirement is a great loss to the Casper Police Department. Chris worked in so many areas of the department. He was a patrol officer for a number of years, then a supervisor and training officer. Later he hired new officers, and finally he was the supervisor of the detectives. His ability to do any job and do it well, is what made him such an asset to the department. Nevertheless, careers must come to an end sometime, and this was Chris’ time. I know that his new job will be a good career move too, and I am happy for him. Police work is stressful, and it’s time for him to de-stress.

Chris is rocking the career of grandpa too these days. He has three grandchildren so far, and they love to hang out with their grandpa. One of the things they really like to do is to listen to Chris play the guitar. He has been playing for most of his life, and I know his own kids loved to sit and listen to him play too. Now the next generation of kids are learning to love music from him as well. His youngest grandchild, Adelaide loves to help her grandpa play the guitar, and I’m sure the others did too. It is just so wonderful to be a grandparent. You aren’t the disciplinarian, and there is no pressure to be that. You just get to be to person they want to be with as much as they can. They want to spend the night, and do the things you are doing, even if it’s work! If their grandparents are doing something, it must be the coolest thing in the world. There is just something about being a grandparent. It’s such an honor to watch the next generation of the sweet family you started, expanding to include these new little babies. That’s how Chris and Allyn are feeling now, and how they will feel far into the future. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As a little kid, my grandson, Caalab Royce, like most kids was a typically goofy kid. He always had a great sense of humor, and loved making people laugh. He didn’t even have to try to make jokes, it just came naturally…and it still does. Caalab loved long hair, and even as a little baby, he carefully played with my hair every chance he got. As a little bit bigger boy, he caught the attention of everyone at church when he would climb up on the chair whenever we stood to sing, and started to play with my hair. It really was the cutest thing, and very endearing. Caalab was the kid who always loved to come to his grandparents house to spend the night. He stayed with us longer than any of the other grandchildren. It did make it hard to have him and his sister, Shai move away when their parents, my daughter Amy and her husband Travis moved to Washington.

Now that Caalab is a grown man, turning twenty today, he is proving to be a wonderful man. As his mom said, he is getting really good at adulting. Amy tells me that Caalab has done very well at doing all of the things that adults should do…paying his bills and never borrowing money, going to work on time and doing his job, and being a responsible adult. Caalab and Shai, his sister, got an apartment together about six months ago, and they have been exceptional roommates and friends. I remember how much they fought when they were little kids, and even as teenagers, and I wondered how well they would do as roommates, but I can proudly say they have been stellar roommates. Shai has even told me that Caalab has become a very clean adult. Most kids, and especially boys, are messy, and some never get out of it, but Caalab grew out of it, and Shai is very thankful.

Caalab, Shai, and their parents, Amy and Travis have started bowling on a league together. It is really the first time Caalab has bowled very much, and they had a great time. Caalab ended the year with a 127 average, and that is really good for a new bowler. Bowling is a traditional sport in our family, so it’s fun to watch the next generation coming into their own in the sport I grew up loving. I know that they will have a great time. In everything Caalab has done in his life, I can say that I am extremely pleased with all of his accomplishments. He is a wonderful young man, and I am very proud of him. Today is Caalab’s birthday. Happy 20th birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Seven days might seem like enough time when your kids come home for a visit, but when it comes time for them to leave, you find that it is definitely not enough time. Of course, deep down, you knew it wouldn’t be, you just hoped that you could cram everything you wanted to say and do into the short amount of time you had. Then, almost before the visit started, it’s time to say goodbye again. That’s how my Casper family feels every time our Washington family comes for a visit, and I’m sure that’s how they feel whenever we go to visit there too. Included in the visit is always a certain amount stress and pressure, both for them and for us, because they are trying to make time for their family…and their friends, and we are trying to spend as much time as possible with them. No one wants to share them exactly…selfish, I know, but when they are your babies, you tend to get a little bit selfish.

This trip home for my daughter, Amy Royce and her kids, Shai and Caalab, was to attend the graduation of my youngest grandson, Josh Petersen. The trip was wonderful, as we attended his graduation party, awards ceremony, and of course, the graduation. We went out to eat, and just sat around and talked, and we even had an early birthday party for Amy. We laughed, talked, and when I was given Friday off, we even did pedicures. The kids hooked up with all their friends, and for the most part, decided that sleep was an unnecessary vice best left to old people…and apparently mornings fell into that same category. Still, they all did their best to divide their time with family and friends as fairly as possible. Nevertheless, to my “mother’s heart” it was not enough time. I found myself wishing that I could turn back time to the first day of their arrival…over and over again.

Try as I might, before we knew it, the last day arrived. Amy had planned a friends night to get all her friends together at once, and it went very well. I made the bold move to “horn in” on the action, even though it was supposed to be for her friends, and they graciously accepted my intrusion. My only regret was that I should have “horned in” my other daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin, who I thought were spending the day with their son, Josh, who went back to Bellingham with Amy, Shai, and Caalab this morning to spend his Senior Trip with them. I suppose I should have realized that Josh would be attending the graduation parties of his friends, but I wasn’t thinking very clearly, because the kids were leaving and I was dreading the tearful goodbyes I knew were inevitable. Hindsight is 20/20. As I contemplate the visit that we had, mixed with the sad goodbyes, a thought came to me…”Goodbyes are always hard, but I’m very thankful that we can look forward to the next hello.”

When a child is born, you think about what they will become. Your thoughts drift to the future…that seems so distant, and you think to yourself, “The future is still so far away.” Then, much sooner than you ever thought possible, the future arrives, and your little baby is suddenly 18 years old, and graduating from high school. Then you think, “Where have the years gone?” It doesn’t matter if that child is your child or your grandchild either. The future arrives so fast. I’ve said it many times before. When you look at that precious baby, you must be aware that next week, they will be graduating from high school, and going off to make their own way in the world. In time and space, it may not be a week, but it will most certainly feel like it was.

That is where my daughter, Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin find themselves today as their son, Joshua
Petersen graduates from Kelly Walsh High School. Josh has changed so much over the years. His beginning was a little rocky, as he jumped the gun and arrived five weeks early. After spending two weeks in Denver, at Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital, Josh was finally ready to come home and join the rest of his family. His rocky start over now, Josh quickly ate everything is sight, trying to make up for lost time, I think. Yes, Josh has changed in many ways, but in many other ways, he has not changed at all. He has always been a wonderful young man with a caring heart, and in that way, he will never change. He is so considerate of the feelings of others.

As the years have passed, we saw in Josh a gentleness and sincere caring for those in need of health care. When he was just six years old, he started helping take care of his grandparents, and he continued doing that until three had passed away, and the last one was in a nursing home. Josh was meticulous with their care. If you showed him how to do something, he did it exactly that way. For that reason, I was not surprised when Josh announced, “I want to be a firefighter.” I don’t think there was a shocked face in the place. Now, I know that a lot of kids say they want to be a firefighter, but Josh meant it. He even began taking Boces classes toward his degree in high school. Josh is so driven, so goal oriented, and that makes me so proud of him. I have no doubt that he will be arriving at his life’s destination very quickly. The years have flown by far too fast. It seems like Josh should still be little boy, and yet here he is at the threshold of adulthood. Josh, we are so proud of your hard work and perseverance. I know that you will go far in life and in your chosen field. We are so very proud of your abilities, drive, and mostly your kind heart. Congratulations on your graduation!!

Leap Day Babies, by definition are numerically challenged…not age challenged or mathematically challenged, although both of those things come into play…simply numerically challenged. Things just never quite add up for them. They start off behind the rest of the kids born that year, because when that first birthday rolls around, the other kids turn one, but a Leap Day Baby only turns ¼. It’s because the 29th of February only happens every four years. I call those other three years nano-birthdays, because the birthday arrives somewhere between 11:59:59pm and 12:00am. It is a nano-second in time, and that is when that missing birthday occurs. Even their younger siblings pass Leap Day Babies up. The Leap Day Baby is pretty good at fractions, however, because after their first year of life, they are ¼. After their second year of life, they are ½. And after their third year of life, they are ¾. It isn’t until their fourth year of life that the Leap Day Baby turns 1. This is a fact of life that my granddaughter, Shai Royce has had to live with since her birth 21 years ago. She wasn’t always sure she liked it, because the boys, her brother, Caalab Royce, and cousins, Chris and Josh Petersen loved to tease her by saying, “I’m older than you” and it was true in every way except the number of years each had spent on the earth.

Nevertheless, Leap has it’s privileges. While the boys had to wait until they turned 16 to get their driver’s license, Shai got to get hers at the age of 4. She got to graduate from high school at the age of 4½. One of the biggest privileges Shai has as a Leap Day Baby is the fact that she can celebrate her nano-birthdays on either the 28th of February or the 1st of March…or both. Her grandpa and I have our anniversary on March 1st, so we liked sharing our anniversary with her on those nano-years, but often it seems that Shai likes to celebrate it on the 28th of February. That has been a distinct advantage for Shai and every other Leap Day Baby…the ability to honestly have an early birthday. This birthday has been a particularly cool one for Shai…especially in the early birthday department, because how many kids say that they actually got to legally drink the day before their 21st birthday? Only the Leap Day Baby. And since the government doesn’t even know what to do about the matter exactly, they even made it legal for her to cheat the system and start legally drinking the day before her birthday.

I guess that while Leap Day Babies only get a birthday once every four years, Leap really does have it’s privileges. For now, Shai might like being older sooner, but some day she will seriously appreciate the fact that she only ages every four years. Today is Shai’s Nano-21st-Birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes the age your kids or grandkids are turning on their birthday has a tendency to shock you. That is where I am on this, my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. It just seems completely impossible that he could be 21 years old today. Chris has come so far. He finished college last year, and he is busy setting himself up in his chosen career. He has a degree in Culinary Arts, and his work is beautiful. I know that Chris will go far in this field, but I suspect that it will happen down the road a bit, when he is able to open his own restaurant. For now, he is busy getting some experience in all aspects of the restaurant business so that he will know what things that make a restaurant successful and what things make one fail.

A few months ago, Chris moved out of his parents home, and into an apartment of his own. He is enjoying his new found independence. Of course, it wasn’t like he wasn’t independent before, but when you live under your parents roof, there are still certain rules you have to abide by. By the same token, when you live on your own, you don’t have anyone else’s rules to follow, but you are the one responsible for your own bills and such too, so I guess it’s a trade off. Still, I don’t know of a single kid who has moved out on their own, who didn’t think it was worth the trade off in the end. Chris is no different than any other kid, moving out for the first time. He is adjusting to new things, and he really misses his family, especially hanging out with his little brother, Josh Petersen. I suppose that is why Josh has stayed the night several times. Brothers just need to hang out.

All that change is one thing, but the biggest change for Chris and every other kid turning 21 is the legal drinking age. Gone are the days of trying to con his parents into letting him have a sip, trying to find someone to buy beer for you, or going to a party and hoping you don’t get caught. Now I don’t know if Chris ever did any of those things or not, and as the grandma, I can feign innocence, and assume he would never do such a thing. It is my right. Nevertheless, today, Chris is of legal age to have a drink if he wants to. That is sure going to take some getting used to. He is still too young in my mind, so to see him drinking a beer with the guys will be one of those shocking moments for sure!! Nevertheless, that day has come. Today is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day, and make sure you always have a designated driver!! We love you!!

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