Kids

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Few things can be more frustrating when we have decided to get in shape, that to have the gym we joined closed down. These days, in the light of the Coronavirus, and it’s many closures, most people find themselves members of a closed gym…not because the gym went bankrupt, although that could happen if this goes on very long, but rather the gyms are closed for “social distancing” for an undetermined time, leaving most dedicated exercise enthusiasts in the lurch. My niece, Amanda Reed is one of those exercise enthusiasts, who joined the gym a while back, determined to get in shape, only to find herself in limbo.

Thankfully the gym is not the only way that Amanda likes to get her workout in. She has always been an outdoor girl, and even decided to hike up to the mountains where she, her family, and friends have spent many a winter day snowmobiling in the snow. The mountain; like the lake where Amanda and Sean have a mobile home so they can spend summer weekends there; is a place that draws Amanda. For years, she might not have been in the physical shape needed to hike the mountain, but now, that has changed, and she successfully made it to the top with her faithful dog. What a thrill that must have been. The snow was deep in some places, but she didn’t let that keep her from the prize she had set for herself. That is the kind of determination an athlete knows well…no matter how long they have waited to become an athlete. Nevertheless, someone who has worked out to prepare, and then hiked up a mountain, no matter how high or not high it is, has truly become an athlete, and can be proud of the accomplishment.

Amanda and her family are planning a trip to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It may be part of the reason she joined a gym, but then we all need a reason to get started, don’t we? Amanda works at the bank in Rawlins, and like many of us “social distancing” has her working from home part-time. I truly is a different world these days. Amanda…true to her lake-loving self, chose to spend her birthday at their place at the lake cleaning. Spring fever is upon her, and she is feeling the draw of the lake. She just loves it out there. Her partner, Sean is going to take her on a Razor ride over to Miracle Mile while they are out there. Sounds like a great way to spend her birthday weekend. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Weston Moore decided last year, after his high school graduation, to take some time off before going to college. He wanted to work, save up some money, and buy a different car. He also planned to save up some money for when he goes back to school. At this point, he is getting close to having enough money for the car, but as we all know, things have changed today’s world. with the Coronavirus Pandemic, people are being told to stay at home, businesses are closing down, only essential workers are allowed to go to work…all in an effort to stop the spread of this virus. That said, Weston still has a job, but not many hours.

In this time, Weston and his family are thankful that he was not away at college, especially since the colleges are mostly closed. Weston is still living at home and his family are all thankful to be together in this difficult time. Thinking back on his graduation, he and his family are glad he graduated last year, because with the pandemic, no school is assured of the ability to hold their graduation ceremonies or parties.

Many things are different now, and it is quite likely that there will be no big gathering for Weston’s birthday. Instead it will be just him, his brother, Easton; and their parents, Machelle and Steve. His mom decides to get a cake last week so she would have one, in case she couldn’t get out as the day drew closer. At this point, they have been hunkering down at the house, leaving only when necessary, and concentrating on staying well. Things are always subject to change…instantly in times of a great pandemic, like we are in the midst of, but Weston always has a great attitude, and that can make his one person who will lift every one else’s spirits. That kind of person is exactly what we need in trying time, and I’m glad that the Moore family has just such a person. These are strange times. Today is Weston’s 20th birthday. Where have the years gone. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Eric Parmely was raised in a house in Casper, Wyoming, but he hasn’t lived in the city since his marriage to his wife, Ashley, Eric has lived in the country. Ashley was raised in the country, around horses especially, but other farm animals too, and her dream was to raise her children in the country too. As a motorcycle-riding kid, who loved racing and popping wheelies, the idea of Eric, taking care of horses, chickens, goats, pigs, cat, dogs, and dogs, and dogs…surprises me to a degree, but Ashley is an “old hand” at it, and now so is Eric. In fact, Eric is very comfortable in this farm environment he and Ashley have built for themselves and their children. They love farming.

There isn’t a lot Eric can’t handle. He is the first person Ashley calls when she has a car problem, because she has her own “Roadside Assistance” service, and she feels very blessed that he is also a “Looker.” Not many men can fix a flat tire, work in the oilfield, ride a motorcycle and a horse, muck stalls, help with an animal giving birth…all while being a great husband and daddy to his kids, Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve.

Much like his mom, Jennifer Parmely, Eric likes the outdoors and even snow. He and Ashley are teaching the kids to ski…mostly cross country skiing, and even little Maeve gets involved, because they have a covered sled for her to ride in, and of course, her big strong daddy is right there to pull her through the snow, while she laughs, wide-eyed and happy. As with her siblings, there will come a day when Maeve will walk on her own two feet, or skis, as the case may be. Nevertheless, all these kids think their daddy hung the moon, because after all, he can “do anything.” Not bad for a city boy!! Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandniece, Kaytlyn Griffith is 12 years old today, and I just can’t believe that she could possibly be that old. Kaytlyn is in 6th grade this year, and doing well. I’m sure that one of her favorite subjects is art, because Kaytlyn is quite talented. I love her work. Being a pathetic artist myself, I really enjoy looking at the artwork of people who have talent, even if it is raw talent. An artist has to start somewhere, so raw talent is not a bad thing. For Kaytlyn, the talent isn’t really raw at all. In a Christmas competition last year, she won the Grand Championship, for her drawing of Santa Clause. People are especially hard to draw or paint. Making it look real even harder…but Kaytlyn has the “people talent” that many artists just wish they had.

Kaytlyn is not only a great artist, but from what I can see, she is also a bit of a performer. Her singing and dance moves in the Christmas play were something to see. The girl definitely has style. She likes dressing up, and it’s my guess that she could also do some acting in school plays in the future. I think she is one to watch in that area.

Kaytlyn and her family live in the country. They have horses to ride, and Kaytlyn and her sister, Jala ride as often as they can. The family likes to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains, and the horses always go along. Riding the horses through the pristine forest is a peaceful thing for anyone to do, of course you need to be somewhat good at riding to make it fun. Kaytlyn and Jala are both good riders, and always getting better. I don’t know about Jala, but Kaytlyn loves snow. She loves to go sledding, and I’m sure she likes horseback riding in the snow too. Being out there on the back of a horse, in the peaceful stillness of the crisp cool snowy air…well I don’t like snow much, and yet that sounds…quite beautiful. I guess that for Kaytlyn it would be totally blissful. Put two things together that she really likes, and you have a great way to send the afternoon.

Kaytlyn is growing into a beautiful young woman, and I am so proud of all she has accomplished. She doesn’t just enjoy math, but she is working very hard to get better at that. I don’t think it is unusual to have an artist not excel in math. The two subjects require opposite sides of the brain. Kaytlyn has a beautiful mind to go with her beautiful face. Today is Kaytlyn’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandson, Chris Petersen, has had a busy couple of years. He became a dad, when his daughter was born on May 30, 2018. It was the happiest day of their lives. Before long it became apparent that the condo he had owned was going to be too small very soon. So this year they bought a new house, and they are very happy with their decision. They have been busily decorating the house to make it cozy and homey. A condo can be a home, but many people feel more at home in a house. Chris has been painting his daughter’s bedroom, a pink sparkle, because it is fit for a princess. Her throw rug is a furry pink explosion, and it’s soft and cozy. Her bedroom is every bit a little castle.

Being a dad has been such a wonderful event for Chris. Like most dads, he quickly found himself wrapped around his daughter’s baby finger. I like to tease new Dad’s about living wrapped around their child’s finger. It’s because they fall so completely in love with their child, that nothing else in life matters. That child is their whole world. It’s fun to watch as these macho-men turn into these totally complacent docile men who would play tea party and fairy princess just because their little girl wants them to.

Of course, these men try not to admit it, but one look at their little princess, and they are hooked. They will never be the same again. That little girl “owns” them, and you know what…that is ok!! For Chris, two girls have won his heart, his daughter, and her mommy. Life just doesn’t get any sweeter than that. He lives his girls, and they love him, and that is the greatest thing on Earth. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, the best laid plans fall just a little bit short of the dream come true. The big plan for our lives, becomes the backup plan. As a trained dental hygienist, my grand niece, Christina Masterson will always have that profession to fall back on, but the doing hasn’t lived up to her expectations. So, it’s back to the drawing board for Miss Christina. With a strong family background in Christianity, she has decided to go to Bible college. I don’t know exactly what her future in this area would look like, but Bible college doesn’t always mean being a preacher. It could be that she will decide to preach, but she could also go into youth ministry, music ministry, or even author Christian books. Christina hasn’t said specifically, what her future looks like in her own head, but she is excited at the prospect of moving forward with this new master plan.

It would be impossible to say for sure where the future will take Christina, but she is excited about it, and that is what matters. Even if she doesn’t go into a field that uses her Bible college lessons, studying the Bible is never a bad idea. In fact, it is something we should all take the time to do…at least on our own, because no matter what future choices we make for ourselves, our lives will always go better if we put God in charge of our plans.

Christina is a sweet girl, the oldest of my nephew Rob Masterson’s four kids. She is also the oldest of her mother, Angela Beck’s four kids. The rest of the kids are a bit younger, and still in public school. The younger ones may not realize it, but they are probably looking to Christina to show them the way to go. It’s probably a lot to put on a young woman’s shoulders, but she can do it…if she doesn’t sell herself short. Being a role model is not an impossible task. All that is needed is to realize that some little people are looking to you to show them how to be great, and I think she’s got this. Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg has been my brother-in-law for so long that he is really more my brother that brother-in-law. Ron was just 6 years old when Bob and I started dating. We used to take him places with us when most people he knew made him feel like he was in the way. He was too little to do much in the way of chores, and he couldn’t really help his dad work on a car. Everybody just kept telling him to, “Go play.” That is a big bummer for a little guy who just wants to be a part of what he sees as “the fun.”

While Ron gets to “play” with the big kids these days, his idea of “fun” hasn’t changed one bit. He still wants to play with the big toys. These days, as a mechanic, Ron can work on anything from a car to heavy equipment. He probably knows more about the equipment he works on that his dad ever did. His dad was an excellent mechanic too, but so much has changed over the years, and mechanics is no different. Computers have changed everything about how we work on things, In fact, some things won’t even tell us what is wrong without a computer. As these technological changes come into play, mechanics have to change with them. The problem for the older mechanics is that they are used to the old ways, or they have retired, and don’t have access to new technology. Then their own car needs work, and the don’t have the technology. Enter the younger guys.

Suddenly, it’s Ron who knows how to work on the new stuff. I suppose he could have told his dad and big brother to “go play,” but that wouldn’t be his style. Maybe because he knew how it felt, or more likely because he understands that there is a time to play with the big boys, and a time to wait your turn. For Ron I’m sure he knew that the time would come when he would be the one with the much needed knowledge. The other men would need to come to him for help. Yes, he could rub it in, but he didn’t. He is the go-to guy, and he is ready to help when he is asked. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As another child turns 16, so another child is behind the wheel. My grand-nephew, Easton Moore has reached that milestone year of his life. Easton is the younger of my niece, Machelle Moore and her husband, Steve. It’s hard for me to believe that Easton is 16 years old already. It seems like just yesterday that he was born. That is the way most parents feel about the time their child turns 16. Easton will be getting his license soon. They have to have 50/hours of day and 10/hours of night driving to do before they can get their license. He is almost there. Something new has helped Easton, that his brother, Weston didn’t have the use a driving app. They didn’t have that when Weston was learning. This years lack of snow has hampered Easton’s snow driving experience, but the past two weeks has made up for the winter’s lack of snow, so Easton is catching up fast. Machelle tells me that Easton is really improving with practice. Strangely, Powell, Wyoming, where Easton lives has just now started plowing the streets. Shocking for Wyoming.

Easton signed up for a welding course at the college that he is super excited about. The Boces program, which stands for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Has made many college classes available to high school students. It’s a great way to give these kids a chance to get ahead in their college education, and to make sure that the course of study is the career move they want to make. Easton is still is not sure what he wants to do after high school, but taking that class might open some doors for him.

Easton is actively looking for a job, so he can save for a car. He has a stack of applications to fill out and hand back in. Easton is motivated to help whenever anyone needs help. He just jumps up and just does it!! That says a lot about his character. Today is Easton’s 16th birthday. Pretty soon we will all need to get off the sidewalks, as a new driver hits the road. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister, Allyn Hadlock and her husband, Chris recently inherited the land his parents had owned, and the home where Chris grew up. The house was old, and had to be torn down, but they built a beautiful new home in its place. The move was a dream come true for Chris, to live in his childhood home again after his parents passed, but while my sister loved her in-laws very much, I was still surprised to see the joyous transformation that occurred in her when they began the work. Allyn has always been all about family, and she loved her in-laws very much, but this was different. It was like she became a kid again, just like Chris had done at the prospect of living in his childhood home again. They really love it out there in the country, by the river. It’s peaceful and they have plenty of space for the kids to run around and have fun.

The home is done now, and they are living there. The child-like elation has very much continued. At Christmas, they hosted the family Christmas party, and we all had a great time, but it was more than that. Recently, they had a gathering of their family at the house, and the reality hit me. They had started their second childhood. With the recent snows, and the perfect sledding hill right in their back yard. Having the kids out to go sledding is a pretty normal activity, but the grandparents don’t always get out there to go sledding with the kids. Still, its not like my sister and her husband are…old. She is seven years younger than I am, and my husband, Bob and I love to hike…some pretty difficult trails. That said, while physically, I could go sledding, I’ve never particularly been a snow and cold kind of person, so sledding is not an activity that is on my radar, but it apparently is something that is on their radar, and they truly love doing it. That’s obvious.

Nevertheless, for my sister and her husband, who have a number of smaller grandchildren, it was the perfect kind of day. Looking at all the pictures my nieces, Jessi Sawdon and Kellie Hadlock took, and the stories they told, I could clearly see that the day was very special to all of them. My sister is all about her family. She is a wonderful mom and grandma, as well as a wonderful wife to Chris. They have a great place now, out in the country with a great hill to sled on and the river nearby for summer fun. It is a dream come true for both of them, and I am very happy they have this place, I also know that Chris’ parents would be thrilled to see their home continue to be home to their family. They would love that the children are back running around the place having the time of their lives. And I think they would be smiling. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-nephew, Jake Harman has always held a special place in my heart, probably because he was my first grand nephew…the first of this new generation. He has also, always made sure that I know that he loves me, his great aunt. Not every kid is the demonstrative type, but Jake always gives me a big hug, tells me he loves me, and even calls me beautiful. Now that’s a kid after my own heart…or maybe he is just a flatterer at heart. I like to think the former.

Jake is a grown man now, and has a family of his own. He has a bonus daughter named Alice, who loves him very much. He also has a daughter named Izabella, and a son named Jaxx. He and his wife, Melanie are very happy together, and life is good for them. Jake works hard to support his family, and they all love him very much. Of course, the fact that Jake is definitely a kid at heart, makes him the perfect guy to entertain the kids. From “attacking” Alice, with the help of Jaxx, to chasing the kids around the yard, Jake is up for it. He doesn’t mind getting goofy with them, and it shows in how the kids interact with their dad. The really cool thing is the memories the kids will have of their dad playing with them. So often, parents are too busy to play with the kids, and yet, it is so important. Jake grows more and more in love with his wife and kids everyday.

Jake spent a number of years working for FedEx, but now he is driving a bus for the school district. With Jake’s love of kids, and his easy way with them, he has the perfect personality for a bus driver. Jake is also the youth group leader at his church, and it is a calling that has been just wonderful for him. His walk with the Lord has grown by leaps and bounds. He also gets to go on outings with the youth, and they always have a wonderful time. Working in the church, and walking with the Lord has given Jake the ability to be an important support person for those who are hurting, most importantly right now, his sister, Siara and her husband Nick Olsen, who recently lost their son, Alec. Jake and Siara were always very close, and this loss has been heartbreaking. He is also trying to be a strong support for his mom, Chantel Balcerzak, and dad, Dave, who are hurting equally badly. It hasn’t been the happiest time leading up to his birthday, but I believe that God will strengthen and comfort them all. Today is Jake’s birthday. Happy birthday Jake!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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