Kids

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My nephew, Ryan Hadlock is a very tall man, having taken after his dad, Chris Hadlock who is 6’4″ tall. Ryan isn’t quite as tall as his dad, but at 6’3″ tall, he still towers over most people. Nevertheless, while he teases everybody, and tries to act like a tough guy, Ryan is really a big teddy bear. He is a quiet man, until you get to know him, and then he becomes more talkative. Of course, as his aunt, I have never really known a time when Ryan was shy with me or other family members. That can be a good thing, but it can also make me a target for his teasing, Thankfully, I don’t mind teasing, and I would probably wonder if Ryan was mad at me, if he didn’t tease me. That is par for the course in our family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We always know that the teasing is done in good fun, and never mean, so we all welcome it. It just adds to the family fun.

Ryan works hard to take care of his family. He has worked at Fleur de Lis Energy for a number of years, where he is a compression operator. I wasn’t really sure what a compression operator does, so I looked it up. I found out that “often natural gas from the wellhead must be compressed to a higher pressure in order to increase it’s pressure enough in order to get it into pipelines for further transportation to market.” So I assume that Ryan’s job is to be the person who knows when and how much to increase the pressure so the natural gas can successfully move to the pipelines for distribution. That’s a pretty important job, because so many people depend on oil and gas products for everyday life. If thing go wrong, shortages occur. Ryan must be very good at his job, because he’s been there for a good long while.

Still, while his job is important to a lot of people, Ryan’s first priority is his family. I will never forget when Ryan met his wife, Chelsea Carroll Hadlock. Chelsea is a beautiful girl, and it took Ryan about 2 seconds to know that she was the girl for him. He never looked at anyone else from that day forward. Ryan and Chelsea were, and are, perfect for each other. They love doing the same things, and both of them are dedicated parents to their children, Ethan and Aurora. When I think of the man Ryan has become, I am very much aware of the amazing blessing he is to Chelsea and the kids. Life for them is just going to get better and better. Today is Ryan’s birthday. happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Since graduating from high school last year, my nephew, Riley Birky, who has always loved the feel of the small towns over the bigger towns and cities, moved to Lovell, Wyoming, where he is currently working double shifts at the Brandin’ Iron Restaurant there. He has his own place, and has a roommate to share expenses with. These days, that’s about the only way the young adults can make it, so I’m glad they are working together on this. It makes it easier for both of them.

This is a whole new adventure for Riley. Being on his own, and in a town that is away from his parents. His mom, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg calls him a free bird, and says he is doing his thing. She misses him, of course, because he is too far away to visit often. Rachel hasn’t seen Riley since May, but they stay in touch, and these days, with texting, phone calls, and Facetime or Skype, that is much easier to do. Riley has always loved his family very much. His little brother, Tucker will always be his best friend, and of course, loves his mama to the moon and back…which always warms her heart.

Riley is a natural born leader, and it has carried him well in the past. He is hard-working, and is a very trustworthy young man, who always has your back when it is needed. I know that his friends and his employer have seen this before, and continue to see it in him today. Working double shifts is tough, but Riley just takes it all in stride and gets the job done. Riley is a good young man and he makes those who depend on him very proud on his faithfulness. Riley loves Jesus, and knows Him as his Lord and Saviour. He knows that God will guide him in every step he takes.

Riley has a passion for music, and particularly likes to find the meaning in the lyrics. He is a deep thinker, and discovering the meaning of lyrics takes deep thought. I know that Riley loves to lose himself in his music. He also loves to get away to the mountains, because that is his peaceful place. He goes there whenever he can, just to relax, and that makes perfect sense to me. Today is Riley’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Steve Moore is one of the most at home in the mountains people I know. He and his wife, my niece, Machelle love sending time in the Big Horn Mountains near their home in Powell, Wyoming. Their favorite thing to do there is to go exploring on new trails or roads, in areas they haven’t explored before. This past summer, while exploring such an area,the came across a cabin. It was in such a beautiful setting, and of course, it heightened their desire to have their own cabin in the mountains, which I truly believe they will have one day. They had seen the road to the cabin before, and that day, they decided to go see where it led them. I think that if anyone I know could live off the grid, it would be Steve and Machelle. Steve is extremely handy when it comes to building things, and living off the land.

Last winter, Steve decided to build a gun. It is a 22 Dasher. Steve has a Labradar Witch, which is a devise that tells you how fast your bullets are going. He can measure the speed, and decide if he wants to add or subtract gun powder for reloading. The gun shoots accurately, and Steve got a couple few Rock-Chucks this summer on the mountain. While it is a great gun, it isn’t one that you want to have to pack very far, because it is pretty heavy. Their youngest son, Easton got to shoot Steve’s 1911 for the first time this summer. their older so Weston is four years older, and so has been shooting or a while now. Their ideal camping sot is one where nobody else is around for miles, so target practice can be done from camp. Another thing Steve likes to do in camp, is experiment with the fire. Of course, he is careful, but he can say for sure that discarded bacon grease will make the flames flair up nicely.

Steve got a chainsaw from a really good friend last year, so firewood is never in short supply. He never has to be asked twice to go to get some firewood for camp, or for his father-in-law, LJ Cook’s garage. In fact they have so much now, that he had to tell us that’s enough…for probably the whole next winter. Te way Steve and Machelle see it, better to have too much, than not enough. Needless to say there is also always enough firewood for camp too! Camping is a way of life for the Moore family, and this summer they tried to go someplace different, instead of always doing the same things, in the same places. They had a great time exploring new roads, hiking around, and just enjoying each others company. It was great while summer lasted, but they said that it sure went fast this year. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Jason Sawdon, who is married to my niece, Jessi, is a highway patrolman by trade, but a family man in reality. He’s a good patrolman, who keeps his cool in every situation, and treats people with respect, even if he has to give them a ticket or arrest them. People appreciate that. He is the crash investigator for the patrol and he is very precise and smart about skid marks and distances and figuring out exactly what happened. Accident investigation is an important job. It is vital to know who was at fault and what other factors might have played a part in the crash.

When Jason met Jessi, I think he knew right away that she was the one for him. They make such a cute couple, and there is no doubt about how they feel about each other, because they wear their love on their faces. It is totally obvious to all of us that they are very happy together. Jessi and Jason are two people who always seem to be happy and laughing. Of course, they bring much of their happiness with them, using nothing but their sense of humor. Jason is always playing jokes on people. He is a great dad to their daughter, Adelaide, and husband to Jessi. Jason just seems to get Jessi. Whatever she wants Jason works to get for her. That means a lot to her mom and dad…knowing their daughter is well cared for. Today, Jessi told Jason that she wanted a greenhouse, so they wouldn’t lose all of their tomatoes when it gets cold next week. So, they went to Menard’s, and got everything needed to build it. Jason had it done in just about two hours!! When Jason and Jessi were redoing their master bath, Jessi told him what she would like, and he made sure there was a way to include everything she asked for in a small space!! Not always an easy task, but he got it done. Jason is the answer to prayer for Jessi, and her family, and a huge blessing for Adelaide. Jason is the kind of guy who is great at building people up, and that is a blessing for all the people in his life.

Jason is always a helper. He has a mechanical engineering degree and so understands how things work. Jason is always willing to share his knowledge with anyone who asks for his help. His degree makes Jason is a great asset for anyone on whatever project they are doing at the time…from electrical, to mechanical, to water, to building, Jason just seems to know how it works. That makes Jason a big help to the family. Jason is always offering his time. He is a helper to anyone in need, and he is so kind. This morning, Jessi and Jason came upon a lady downtown who had fallen and hurt her knee. Jason ran right up and help to pick her up, and literally carried her, to a nearby bench. Then, he carried her to her vehicle when the lady’s husband brought it around. Lots of people would loo the other way, but never Jason. He is always there for people. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I think that over the years, we have all become used to men going off to war, and leaving their families safely at home, while they fight for the freedom and safety of people all over the world who are unknown to them. It’s a common part of war, and one that most of the time, the average person doesn’t even think about. It’s war after all, sacrifices have to be made. What we don’t always think about…until someone points out the obvious to us…is the families, and especially the children who are waiting for their parent to come home.

For any of us who have been away from family for an extended period of time, it’s easy to understand just how badly you can miss someone you love, but war is different. When your child moves away, you miss them, but you know you can go see them soon. When you loved one goes off to war in a country where the fighting is heavy, and bombs are dropping everywhere…not only can you not go visit them whenever you want to, but you live with the knowledge that at any moment, they could be killed in action. And they are living with that knowledge too. It makes the time and distance seem much longer and much further than it really is.

While we might be able to fathom the pain of missing a family member, I think we find it even harder to grasp the complete and utter shocked sense of relief that these family members feel when they are reunited with their loved one again. The children are especially heart wrenching…or is it heart warming. It doesn’t really matter which it is, because no one watching it does so without tears. It’s just impossible. When a German World War II prisoner, was released by the Soviet Union, and is reunited with his daughter, she cannot control her emotions. She had not seen her father since she was one year old, and she is about 5 years old. A mom who spent 7 months in Iraq, cannot contain herself when she sees her daughter again. An officer’s son breaks down because he wasn’t sure he would ever see his daddy again. These are the moments most of us never got to see, but now with the internet,we have the chance to look into the lives of those who serve our nation, fight our battles, and protect our world. It is in those moments that we realize what really happens when those who serve are reunited with their loved ones again.

When two kids get married, or any two people for that matter, you never know if the marriage will last. You hope that theirs is a match made in Heaven, but only time will tell. My daughter, Amy Schulenberg, married Travis Royce in this day September 16, 1995, just a few months after Travis graduated from high school. Amy had graduated the year before. They were quite young by most standards, but that didn’t matter to them. Somehow, they knew that they were perfectly matched, and while others might not have seen that at the time, everyone sees it now. Each of them is what the other needs.

Amy is more of a shy person, like her mom, and Travis is very outgoing. For a shy person, that is very helpful, especially in a crowd. When you are shy, it’s hard to talk to people you don’t know well, and Travis has no problem in that category. Once a shy person gets to know people, they are fine, it’s just that awkward early stage that is tough. Amy is also more of a serious person, again like her mom, while Travis is an incurable comic. I really like that about Travis, because life is serious enough. We need people who can see the funny side of life to keep us from getting too serious about things. Travis keeps the laughter going in their household, which is something that I have always felt was a huge blessing to all of them. Amy is the more practical one, which is something Travis needed, not that he hasn’t become more practical over the years, but he was always more spontaneous about things like spending, until Amy kept him more grounded. Then he saw the value in that, and they are in agreement on things like spending.

Of course, there are differences that can cause “fights” too. If you could call them that. Travis is a Chicago Bears fan, while Amy is a fan of arch rival the Green Bay Packers. Football season is…interesting in their household…to say the least. It is about the only time they really have many “fights.” Nevertheless, not everything is about fighting. Amy and Travis agree that the family that plays together, stays together, and for them, that means music. Most Tuesday nights, after bowling gets over, the family heads back to their house for a family jam session before the kids go home. Travis and their son, Caalab play the guitar, while daughter, Shai is learning the ukulele. I’m sure that will add a fun aspect to their family band. I can’t wait to hear them now.

Over the years, much has changed in Amy and Travis’ marriage, but then again is some ways nothing’s changed at all. They are still perfectly matched. They still make each other happier than even they dreamed possible. They are still going in the same direction, and having a great time in this life they have made. Today is Amy and Travis’ 23rd anniversary. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis. Have a great day. We love you.

My little grand-niece, Mackenzie Rose Moore is a happy little girl who has much of her mommy’s personality. Mackenzie is the first child of my niece, Lindsay Moore and her husband, Shannon, and they couldn’t be happier if they tried. Mackenzie lives with her parents in Greenville, North Carolina, and so we don’t get to see her very much, but her mommy makes sure we get lots of pictures of her.

Mackenzie is usually smiling, and sometimes goofy. She seems to like entertaining her parents with her antics, and loves to pose for pictures. Mackenzie isn’t walking yet…at least not without the security of the furniture in the house. Don’t think that has stopped her from getting into everything, because it hasn’t. She just isn’t too sure about moving away from the furniture yet. She crawls everywhere, and stands up without assistance when she is holding on to a toy or something, and she is fascinated with the refrigerator. Apparently she knows that there is good stuff in there.

Being the daughter of a football coach, makes football a given, and Mackenzie embraces that fanship like a veteran. She enjoys going to her daddy’s football games at East Carolina University, where he is the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. She is learning to be his best cheerleader!! And she’s a Pirates fan all the way. And she likes to watch football on television with her daddy too. Of course, anything she is doing with her daddy is fun, according to Mackenzie. The family spent a fun summer going to the pool, camping, and just being together. Her first word was Dada, which I’m sure pleased Shannon, but her favorite word these days is Momma. Nevertheless, rest assured, this baby girl loves her daddy too.

This first birthday has to be a record for unusual birthdays, or at least unusual ways to celebrate a first birthday. Mackenzie had to get out of bed very early yesterday morning, so she and her mommy could get on a plane to fly to Wyoming, because of Hurricane Florence. Greenville, North Carolina is inland from the coast, but this hurricane is set to be a bad one and is expected to stall over the area. If the power is out for several days, it could become miserably hot at their house. So, Mackenzie and her mommy, said goodbye to her daddy, who was getting on a plane for Florida for a game with his team, and off they all went. Mackenzie spent a few weeks with her Grandma and Grandpa Moore this summer, and now gets to see the Hadlock family. Today is Mackenzie’s 1st birthday. It’s a birthday to remember. Mackenzie won’t, but her parents sure will. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Since becoming disabled, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen has struggled to redefine himself. He can’t be on his feet for very long, and he can’t sit very long either. During the years since he was disabled, my daughter, Corrie Petersen, Kevin’s wife, has been pretty much single-handedly been taking care of him. Soon,it became apparent that Corrie needed a new carer. One that would be more fulfilling and one that would pay better. After much prayer, it was decided that Corrie would go back to school to become a nurse. They knew this was going to be a difficult road, that would become much harder when nursing school began. After 2 years of taking her prerequisites, Corrie started nursing school two weeks ago.

Since August 20th, Kevin has reversed the roles. Now, while here are times Kevin need’s Corrie to be his caregiver, these days he is taking care of her. While Kevin must take frequent rest periods, he is cleaning the house, washing the laundry, and cooking the meals while Corrie is in school, at work, or studying. Each week of this stage of Corrie’s studies requires more work for her, and it isn’t going to get any easier until she graduates. Kevin wants to do his part. In many ways nursing school might have actually been harder for Corrie is Kevin was working, although I suppose he would be stronger too, if he wasn’t disabled. Needless to say, this process hasn’t been easy for Kevin either, and I am very proud of how he has stepped up to make this journey easier on Corrie.

When Kevin has some free time, he has been working on the Cyclone car his dad, Dean Petersen gave him a while back. He has also decided to try his hand at painting and drawing with different kinds of paint. Kevin has been dealing with tremors in his hands these days, so I’m sure painting and drawing is quite a challenge. During the times when Kevin has to lay down for a while, he has a companion who is very excited about those naps…their dog, Dottie. Dottie is a Scottish Terrier, and she totally loves Kevin. When Kevin needs to lay down, he tells Dottie they are going to take a nap. Dottie gets very excited. She is like a kid, except that she likes naps. She runs to the bedroom door and waits for Kevin to come. Then, Dottie settles herself on Corrie’s pillow. It has become Dottie’s place when Corrie isn’t there. She loves napping with Kevin. When Dottie is outside, and Kevin has his shoes on, she won’t come in the house, because she thinks it’s time to go somewhere, and she doesn’t want to be left at home. She loves Kevin so much and she wants to be with him all the time. She is content to do what Kevin can do, and rest when he needs to, so it’s good for both of them. She is a great companion. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For most of this last year, my niece Lindsay Moore’s life has been a whirlwind of excitement and activity. With the birth of her little girl, Mackenzie Rose, Lindsay and her husband, Shannon have been enjoying every new experience that comes with parenthood. Mackenzie is a happy, and sometimes goofy girl, who keeps them on their toes. Mackenzie is starting to walk these days, and getting into anything within reach, so her parents have to keep a close eye on her now. Lindsay has been a work-from-home wife for some time, employed remotely by South Dakota State University, and now she is also a stay-at-home mom to little Mackenzie. For Lindsay, life doesn’t get any better. she is just living the dream that she has had for a long time. Lindsay is a health and exercise advocate and always keeps herself in excellent shape. Of course, these days that exercise is easier, because Mackenzie keeps her mommy running.

Lindsay’s husband is the tight ends coach at Eastern Carolina University, and so during the football season, Lindsay and Mackenzie spend Saturdays at the games cheering on Daddy’s team, and hanging out with friends at the game. Lindsay has always been a football fan, especially if it’s Shannon’s team playing. When Shannon married Lindsay, he married his biggest fan, and now they have added another member to the fan club. If you ask me, Shannon has the cutest cheerleaders ever. Lindsay is a very social person, so they are always joined by friends at the games, while they are cheering the team on. It’s a good thing that she makes friends so easily,since they have moved around every so often. It is a common thing with coaching.

Lindsay and Shannon were in Wyoming visiting family this summer, which is a fairly common occurrence for them. His job and her work-from-home job make it easier for them to come home in the summertime, so the family gets to see them more than the average kids who live far away. They family went to the Black Hills, where we joined them for the 4th of July festivities in Custer, South Dakota. Then they went on to the Big Horns. It’s a blessing for my sister, Allyn Hadlock and her husband, Chris, and the rest of the family. It’s hard to have a grandchild who lives far away, and having them visit often makes it a little bit easier. Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is growing up so fast. She is a girl of many talents. Of course, having a big brother, Ethan, who loves his sister and hangs out with with her, helps Aurora to diversify in her choices of activities. Ethan has taught her to play Minecraft,and they play together. Also,having a big brother who likes football has made Aurora like the game too. So it seemed only logical for her to decide to sign up for Flag Football. I know that she will have a great time with that. She is athletic,and while she has a girly side, there is a little of a tomboy in her too.

Aurora still loves to read and has since the day she learned how. Reading has always been a big part of her life. Her parents and grandparents read to her, as did her big brother. Books have long been a highlight of Aurora’s life. She also likes art…a trait that she gets from her mother, who is very crafty. They love to make beautiful things for their home, and as in her mother’s case, selling them. I don’t think it will be very long before Aurora’s mom can include some of her artwork for sale too.

Something I was not aware of is that Aurora is actually a chip off the old block…or as in her case, two blocks…her dad, Ryan Hadlock and her grandpa, Chris Hadlock. Both of the men play the guitar, and now I have learned that Aurora plays too. She is learning from them, and loves to have jam sessions as a threesome. Really, that is pretty impressive for a 7 year old girl. Of course, when you look back in her genealogical line, she comes from a long line of guitar players, that include her great grandpa, Allen Lewis Spencer, and 2nd great grandpa, Allen Luther Spencer. With all that talent (and maybe more for all I know) in her lineage, it’s no wonder that Aurora is a guitar player at the tender age of 7 years. I think it is sad that her other grandpa’s didn’t get a chance to jam with her too, but maybe they can in Heaven when we all get there.

Aurora is such a sweet little girl who is always smiling. She is getting ready to start 2nd grade this year, and I know she will do very well, because she is a good student who loves to learn new things. She has enjoyed her summer, and has done some great things, including a family vacation to Disneyland, where she met lots of Disney characters, and especially loved the rides…if I know her. But then, the princesses and mermaids were probably highlights too. Aurora has had a great year, and I know the coming year will be even better. Today is Aurora’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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