Kids

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Years ago, my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely made the decision to get healthy and stay that way. She was never really at a place where she was very overweight or unhealthy, but she was done letting that sneak into her life, and it never did sneak up on her again. Jennifer was always a pretty healthy eater, and even more so these days. She is very vigilant in how she eats and how she cooks.

Of course, eating well is not going to be enough to keep a person healthy, because without exercise, the body deteriorates. I think most of us know that, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is faithful to exercise to keep their body in shape. Jennifer is the exception to that rule over the long run, because she is always doing some form of exercise. She walks, jogs, rides a bicycle, skis, yoga, and many other forms of exercise. After having three boys, her waist is still probably the same 25 inches, or less, that it was before she had children. That is all due to Jennifer’s dedication to healthy living, and it has served her well all these years. She has been able to do whatever she wanted to do.

Jennifer is a labor and delivery nurse, at Wyoming Medical Center, and I can’t tell you how many babies she has helped to deliver, but I can tell you that it could be in the thousands. So many mothers who were comforted through their baby’s birth. So many babies she held in her arms in their first moments of life. Oh the miracles she has been blessed to see. It is beyond amazing, and I know that Jennifer feels very blessed to have been a part of it for so many years.

These days, Jennifer has even better reasons to stay in good shape. She has three little grandchildren that love riding their bicycles to the park with their Oma. Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen Parmely love hanging out and having fun, and Jennifer feels very blessed to have these little ones in her life…and very blessed that she is in shape to really enjoy them and the rest of her life. Today in Jennifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Keep on keeping on!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Chantel Balcerzak is a very creative person. I think that much of her ability to be creative comes from the beauty that lives within her spirit. Chantel can look at a room and see something in it that most people can’t see. All she has to do is look for a few minutes, and the room presents itself to her with all of the hidden beauty that only she can see. I have looked at rooms that she has designed, and I am always amazed at how beautiful they are. Recently, Chantel decided to redecorate her mom, Cheryl Masterson’s bathroom, and when she was done, it was beautiful. Chantel simply looked at the walls, and the bouquets of flowers appeared in her head. She in turn freehand painted them onto the walls, and they were perfect. Each bouquet was delicate and elegant. Cheryl was delighted with how the bathroom turned out, and everyone can see why.

These days, Chantel is enjoying her second career…a combination of wedding décor and interior design. She decorates for weddings, but often plans them too. She has a natural ability to make the wedding perfect for each bride and groom. From the bouquets and floral arrangements, to centerpieces, candles, and ribbons to bring the romance to life. When Chantel puts a wedding together, it is a wedding to remember. Not only does Chantel design weddings and rooms, but she refurbishes furniture too. Sometimes I am completely amazed at the many abilities she has. Everyone has gift at which they excel, I’m told, and this is definitely Chantel’s gift, as anyone can see.

Chantel’s personal life has taken a “career change” too, in that she is now a grandmother to four little grandchildren, Alice Price, Izabella Harman, Jaxx Harman, and Reece Balcerzak. These babies are very special to her and she, like every grandparent, doesn’t know what she would do without them. Grandchildren are the blessings we receive for having children bring parents, and they are awesome!! Chantel, who was called Teensy by her grandfather, my dad, Allen Spencer, has carried on the tradition with her granddaughter, Izabelle, who quickly became Tinkerbelle, and finally just Tink…which completely suits her. She is tiny, with great big eyes, and a bouncy, even sassy attitude, just like Tinkerbell…or maybe just like her grandma, who was much the same as a child. Whatever the case may be, Chantel is totally happy with those babies. Today is Chantel’s birthday. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Liz Masterson is a gifted teacher of high school journalism. She is also a gifted photographer. I suppose the two things go together in many ways, but I don’t know if most journalists are also gifted photographers. This dual career that Liz has keeps her very busy. If she is not grading papers, she is taking pictures of the sporting events at the school for the annual and the Kelly Kall. During the school year, she has very little time to do much else.

Nevertheless, on Thursday nights, Liz; her mom, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; Liz’s niece, Aleesia Spethman; and I go to dinner. We try to go different places, so that we don’t get bored, but the reality is that we just enjoy spending time together. Liz has many interests, and we enjoy hearing about the challenging subjects she addresses with her students. I think they do too, because most of her students become her lifelong friends. I think very few teachers can say that. Most teachers prepare their students for graduation and the next step in their lives, and then they slowly fade into the student’s past. Liz is very different. Her students don’t want her to fade into the past. They want to always be able to share the great things they do in life with their favorite teacher.

In her off-time, Liz is a mommy to her fur babies. Her puppies, Luka, Scout, and Buffy; and her cat, Professor McGonagall…usually known as Kitty. Liz loves her fur babies, and feels bad that she has to leave them during the day to go to work, so if she ends up working at night, as teachers often do, her puppies get to go to the grandma, Cheryl’s house to play with her puppy, Missy. It’s almost comical to me, because I’m not used to seeing puppies need a babysitter for an evening, but these are Liz’s fur babies, and she wants the best for them. And what baby doesn’t want to spend time with their grandma when their mommy can’t be home to play. When Liz is home, she and her fur babies have the best times playing together. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Imagine thinking that things that have no substance, actually do have substance. I know that sounds odd, but consider our shadow. It is caused by our body coming between the sun and the ground. We have all seen them, and most of us give them no thought at all. Now consider a two year old girl, who notices her shadow for the first time. Suddenly, something strange is following her and she cannot get away from it. Many of this little ones actually become quite upset, and telling them it is ok, or it is only their shadow doesn’t help at all. Explaining what creates a shadow to a two year old doesn’t help either, because they are too young to figure out what you are saying. To them, the shadow is a thing of substance…a stranger, and the child does not like it. While a little child being afraid of their shadow is pretty normal, what of other things that have no substance being mistaken for things of substance.

In reality, it is probably just people being able to use their imagination, like the little girl who was the subject of a photograph taken by Adam Diston in 1886. Little is known about the photographer himself, but his imagination and creative thought are fascinating to me. I did find out he was born 1827 in Edinburgh and spent the greater majority of his life as a photographer. I don’t know if the little girl thought you could cut a sunbeam or not, but maybe…just for a moment it seemed possible that something without substance, could have substance. Diston brought that out in her, and in his picture, made it almost believable. I think he might have been a truly great photographer.

And what of the wind? Wind can blow all around you and still you stand in the same place, and yet, if you raise your jacket over your head, it can fill the fabric and take you for a little ride. We can’t go far on just jacket power, but put that same wind in a sail, connected to a boat and you can travel the world. And yet, a breeze goes by almost unnoticed…because it has no real substance…at least not until we harness it. Or in the case of a sunbeam, we imagine it’s substance. And in the case of the shadow, we envision it as a person…a stranger. It’s all in how we see things.

My niece, Amanda Reed is one of the busiest people I know. She never seems to stop, and sometimes I wonder where she gets all the energy to do all the activities she and her family do. Besides working all day at the Rawlins National Bank, her evenings and weekends are spent with a great group of friends. They go every weekend…from skiing in winter, to boating in summer, 4 wheelers, motorcycles, and snowmobiles…they are on the go all the time. Life is definitely not passing them by. They embrace life every day.

Amanda and her partner, Sean Mortensen are the parents of a beautiful daughter, Jaydn Mortensen, who at 14 is a wonderful equestrian, and has won lots of awards for her abilities. Her parents and grandparents encourage her every step of the way, and attend all of her competitions. In addition to that, Jaydn goes on all the family outings. They never exclude her. I suppose that as she gets older and has a job, that may change, but I don’t think it will be much of a change. Amanda and her family are very dedicated to each other, and they enjoy spending time together, so that will always be a part of their lives. For Amanda and Sean, Jaydn is their whole heart. They couldn’t love her more, if they tried.

Amanda and Sean are very happy together, and they are always headed in the same direction. That is one of the keys to a life-long relationship. They enjoy being together, and the like the same things. That brings harmony to a home. Amanda and Sean love to laugh and they do things that make other people laugh too. That makes them fun to be around, and if you ask their friends, you will see that they all agree. Amanda and Sean are very social people and they love to entertain. The spend time at the family cabin in all seasons, because there is lots of room for all their activities. I’ve never met a more active bunch. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When I think of my grand nephew, Weston Moore, graduation is not usually the thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, that is the next big step in his life. It seems like just yesterday that my niece, Machelle Moore and her husband Steve became the parents of their first child, and now he is looking forward to college and his future plans. It is at this point in a child’s high school career, that they become very ready to be done with high school. They are grown up now, and high school is just in the way of their future.

Weston has decided to pursue a career in the Culinary Arts, and so last week he went to Sheridan, Wyoming to check out the culinary school there. He was very impressed and is excitedly considering going there. That is also the school where my grandson, Chris Petersen, Weston’s 2nd cousin studied, so he can give him a feel for the school and such. Chris really enjoyed his time there, and learned a lot, so I know Weston will too.

Weston likes sports, and is really good at them too. He has played football, as well as other sports, and right now, he is in track. His events are Discus and Shot-put, both of with take a good degree of strength. He did very well in Discus recently for a personal best. He was very happy about that.

Weston has not always enjoyed camping, but last summer he went camping with the family a few times. His mom said that he was a big help when it came to moving the big logs. While camping wasn’t always his favorite thing, he also knows that with graduation, it will be harder to do things with his family, so he really wanted to spend come quality time with them. It seemed a bit strange to have him on the trips, but they were sure glad to have that time up there with him and no cell phones to compete with, since there is no cell service in the mountains. While it was strange to have Weston camping with them, it will be even more strange when he moves out of the house and into his own place. There is a big difference between your son being at work and having him away at college. Today is Weston’s birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Just when you think you know someone, you find out that maybe you didn’t know them at all. I have always known that my Aunt Bonnie McDaniels is a great lady. She has made many, many wedding cakes for her friends and family, and then gives them as gifts, so that the bride and groom don’t have to pay the price she could easily charge for them. Yes I always knew that she was a great lady, but I didn’t know the true extent of her giving…until now.

Aunt Bonnie has always had a special love for children. I remember attending activities at Grant Elementary School with my grandchildren, Shai and Caalab Royce, to find Aunt Bonnie there too, watching the her grandson, Anthony McDaniels participate in the same events. Of course, that was just one of the many times Aunt Bonnie attended for her kids ad grandkids, and now great grandkids. She was instrumental in the lives of three generations of her family’s lives. Her family was her true delight. She is selfless and gives to her family with endless joy and love.

That is a part of Aunt Bonnie that I also knew, and I’m sure that like Aunt Bonnie and me, this is something that many grandparents do for their family, but Aunt Bonnie didn’t stop there. And that is truly where the similarities between most moms, grandmothers, and great grandmothers, and my aunt end. Aunt Bonnie loves crocheting and sewing. It is a talent she has shared and taught to her family. These days, the family often shares gifts of yarn and pom-pom makers for birthdays! Each of them feels a very special bond with her through crocheting and sewing, but even that still doesn’t tell you the most amazing things that Aunt Bonnie does.

Aunt Bonnie’s love of babies and children has brought her to a place of giving to the babies in our community. Along with a couple of her friends, Aunt Bonnie sews and crochets for the new babies at the hospital and at Family Practice. She provides all of the supplies she needs for her projects…that’s a part of the gift…just like her cakes always were. She meets with her friends every other Thursday to cut out material and prepare for the week’s work. Over the years Bonnie has made baby gowns, hats, fleece blankets, quilts, onesies, crocheted caps, socks and bibs. Every other Thursday they meet to deliver the items they have created for the new babies. Aunt Bonnie is a giver, but I just never knew just what a great giver she is. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Eric Parmely is a busy man. He is husband to his wife, Ashley, and daddy to his three kids, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen. A while back, Eric and Ashley bought a piece of land west of town, and while they have always been farmers and always had their animals, now have more room to grow their farm and add the animals they want. The kids love having all the space they have at their new place, and they love taking care of their animals. Eric and Ashley stay busy keeping the farm running, and taking the kids to their various activities. If you ask them, they will tell you they are simply living the dream. They really never have wanted anything else but the dream life in the country, surrounded by their kids and a boatload of animals. Now, I’ll grant you that living in the country is peaceful, but having lived there myself, I can’t say that I miss the muddy dirt roads and the long drives to town. It’s just that extra inconvenience that I don’t like much, and I think maybe their dogs agree…at least where the mud is concerned. Odd really, when you consider that most dogs couldn’t care less about mud. Nevertheless, these dogs seem to have a bit of an aversion to it…which strikes me as rather funny.

Eric and Ashley especially love the peaceful days in the country, because lets face it, if you don’t have to go to town, it is really peaceful. They get to enjoy the wildlife, such as sage grouse, deer, and antelope, and they thoroughly enjoy the many visitors to their farm. Lots of birds hang out there, and the lack of traffic noise is nice too. For me, the winter would be the worst, but then I don’t like winter anywhere, so I guess it doesn’t matter. On the farm, and this is one of the things they like most about farm life…you have to go outside everyday, and actually be outside. you can’t take care of the animals from the house. The family has learned to love all kinds of weather, including snow. Eric and Ashley actually have to bribe their kids to come into the house at night. Absolutely amazing!!

Eric, like all of the men in the Schulenberg family, loves to work on cars. If mechanics can possibly be in the blood, that is where it is in these guys. In fact, one might wonder if they don’t have oil in their veins, instead of blood. You never have to wonder where they are, because if they aren’t working on a vehicle, they are at the parts house getting parts for a vehicle. Of course, the great thing about having a mechanic in the family is the lack of vehicle maintenance expense. Mechanic work can get really expensive, and if you have a mechanic in your life, you don’t have to pay someone else to do the work. A great savings for sure, and that is a great blessing…as the women in the Schulenberg family will tell you. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kellie Hadlock is a girl who is so sweet and thoughtful that people can’t help but love her. She is literally the favorite aunt among her nieces and nephews, and I suppose that I could get in trouble for saying such a thing, except that I didn’t say it, her siblings did, and if anyone would know this, it would be them. Kellie loves to babysit all the “babies” of her siblings. Her nephew, Ethan Hadlock, and nieces Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore all love to do things with Kellie. Kellie takes the kids to Jump Craze and the movies, or just to her apartment to hang out. When the kids see Kellie, their faces light up with delight, because they know that she is going to make them laugh, and they are going to have a great time with her.

Kellie has been dating Travis McDaniel for a while now, and they are very happy. She still loves her job at American Title, and is super qualified and well liked there. Her sister, Jessi has nicknamed her Pie, and likes to tease her that her birthday is actually March 14th, which is Pi Day. That said, Jessi tells her that she will not be celebrating with her today, because her birthday is actually yesterday…which of course, isn’t true. That is just how Jessi likes to tease her sister. Nevertheless, Jessi and her husband, Jason love to have Kellie come over to hang out. It’s nice to just do nothing and being content, and Kellie makes that easy.

Probably the greatest thrill in Kellie’s life is singing. She gets to lead song service at our church quite often these days and totally loves that. Singing is a must for Kellie. She just can’t imaging life without songs about God. She is an amazing blessing at church, and to anyone who has ever heard her sing. Singing is truly her life, and I love to listen to her…like anyone else who knows her.

For their birthday, my sister, Allyn and husband, Chris let their kids pick an activity, dinner, and of course, cake for their special day. Kellie has chosen to go bowling for her birthday. For dinner, she chose Allyn’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. All of her family will be coming over to help celebrate, including sister, Lindsay and her husband, Shannon Moore, who live in Laramie, as well as her brother, Ryan and his wife, Chelsea. Of course chocolate cake will not be on the menu for this birthday party, because Kellie hates chocolate. She chose a Funfetti cake instead. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a great day!! We, like everybody else, love you!!

Naming your baby is a big job, and not one to be taken lightly. The name you bless them with, or sometimes stick them with, is very important. Of course whether the name is a blessing or a curse is a matter of opinion. Some people think you should give your children common names, while others don’t want their child to have the same name a dozens of other kids born that year.

My parents were of the persuasion that their kids were unique, and so their name should be too. If not in pronunciation, then in spelling. Every one of their daughters’ names are spelled in an unusual way…Cheryl, not Sheryl; Caryn, not Karen; Caryl, not Carol; Alena, not Elena; and Allyn, not Lynn. While our names don’t necessarily sound different, very few people spell them correctly.

In my family there are a number of unusual names. Chantel, Corrie (for a girl), Garrett, Lacey, Keifer, Siara, Shai, Caalab, Aurora, Reece (for a girl), and Jaxx. Some are hard to pronounce and some are hard to spell. Either way, they are all unique. We also have some in my husband’s family that are unique…Corrie and Shai (who are in both sides of the family), Machelle, Weston and Easton (who are brothers), Marlyce, Jala, Kaytlyn, Hattie (it’s making a comeback), and Bowen (which I hadn’t heard before). I guess there are a number of us who like the unique names.

Every year lists come out to tell of the most popular baby names. The celebrities are famous for giving their children unique names. Moon, Apple, North are just a few that are easily recalled. Some of them make you wonder just what they are thinking, but apparently they all have their reasons for the unusual names. Names are important as they help to create our identity to the world and to ourselves. Unique Names Day takes a moment in the year to celebrate those who have these interesting names. We are the people who can never find our name on souvenirs, and other personalized items. We have to create our own, have it spelled wrong, or just skip it. We are never on any lists that are produced with all the common names that are out there depicting funny situations applying to names…sometimes that may not be a bad thing.

Someone, at some point realized that unique names was something of some significance, and Unique Names Day came into being in 1997. Since then it has been a yearly occurrence. There are some things that people with unique names go through that those with common names never think about. As children who want keepsakes with their name on it, visiting a tourist attraction or taking a trip there is rarely an item that people with these names will ever be able to have. While that may seem like a small thing, for a child trying to fit it, it’s a big deal. When there is nothing that they can ever find with their name on it, they feel like they don’t really belong.

Unique Name Day is the perfect chance to embrace those with unique names. Having a day just for those who put up with repeating their names, spelling it, teaching people how to say it and rarely having any of the fun trinkets with their name on may not take away any frustration, but it can help make new memories! Find out is their name from their cultural background? If you are the one who walks through life with a unique name, you can take this day to revel in your uniqueness. This day can be used to find out the story of how your parents picked this name for you. My own mom liked the name Karen, but didn’t like the spelling, since they wanted their kids to have names beginning with “C” for my mom and “A” for my dad. So, they came up with ways to make the chosen names fit the categories. As for Caryl, I think they liked the “y” in my name and continued it with her. The funny thing about that is just how easy it is for Caryl and me to type our own name when we mean to type the other name…thereby misspelling our own sister’s name. Do you have a unique name? what is your story? This is your day, and your chance to tell the world.

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