homework

tucker-and-racheltucker-and-ronMy nephew, Tucker Birky loves school, and learning in general. He is in advanced classes and doing very well. He is bringing home advance homework, and is a year ahead in Math, and two years ahead in Reading. I’ve always said that a child who can read well, can pretty much write their own ticket in this world. Tucker also plays the piano, which is a skill I would love to have, but I would have to cut my fingernails, and that’s not happening. Tucker doesn’t have that problem, so he’s in good shape. Tucker also has a desire to go into politics. He wants to be president of his student council. That is a great aspiration. He is kind and helpful, and that has made him popular at school too, so it’s quite likely that he could be elected the Student Council President. All I can say is, “Tucker, if you run for President of the United States someday, please be a Conservative. We need more Conservatives.”

Tucker and Jack JackLike a lot of boys, Tucker loves to ride his 85 Dirt bike. And he loves to shoot. For his birthday this year, he got an air gun, and his face literally lit up. Tucker loves the outdoors and camping, and all that goes with it. Which brings me to his step-dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, who is his dad, as far as Tucker is concerned. Ron is his very favorite person, and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg tells me that if Ron is around, she has to fight for Tucker’s attention. They might be out in the garage working on something, or outside riding, or just hanging out, but when Ron is there, Tucker wants to be with him. And then there’s the cat, Jack Jack…yes, that’s two Jacks, and Tucker dearly loves Jack Jack. So, if Ron isn’t home, I guess Rachel has to compete with Jack Jack. That doesn’t sound like a win/win situation at all, but it seems to be the way with kids. When you get them grown up to some size, they suddenly have too many other things to do to spend much time with you. It is the way it is, but the parents don’t like it.

Tucker has set some future goals for himself too, which is somewhat unusual for a boy of just nine years. tuckers-surpriseTucker's new gunTucker has decided that he wants to join the armed forces, and serve his country. In this day and age, when many people have lost their patriotism, it’s heartwarming to see that Tucker has not, and that he will someday be in a position to make a difference in this world. I don’t think he has decided what branch of the service appeals to him, but there is time for that. His step-dad was in the Army, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Tucker follow in his footsteps. For now, he is enjoying life and his favorite things. Today is Tucker’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageSchool 2016It’s inevitable…the end of summer, turns into the first day of school. All the kids are torn between being bored from too much free time, and the dread of getting back into the grind of studying and homework. This year finds my family with just one public school student left. Our grandson, Josh Petersen is a senior in high school this year, so this is our last year with the public school system…until the great grandbabies start coming anyway. I am finding that hard to believe.

Of course, once the kids get going, most of them enjoy school. Believe it or not, humans tend to want to be productive and for kids that does mean school. By the end of the year, they are ready for summer break, but by summer’s end, they are ready to get back into the swing of things again. They miss the organized sports, friends they don’t see except at Moler kids school 2016coleman kids school 2016Limmer kids school 2016school, getting out of the house or daycare, and in reality, most of them actually enjoy learning. I don’t think any of us really want to go through life with no mental stimulation, and that is exactly what school does for the kids, whether they particularly like it or not.

Then, of course, most kids usually get a few new articles of clothing to start out the new school year. For some, it is a matter of necessity, because of course, they have grown so much since last year, and for others, it is a necessity, because after all, you have to have at least one new outfit to start the year…right? And those new School 2016Beadle school 2016clothes and school supplies tend to take the sting of summer’s end out of the picture, a little bit anyway. I always thought it was fun to have new school supplies, even if the newness wore off pretty quickly.

And so, as the kids come home after school, they are filled with stories of their day to pass on to their parents, and even a little bit of excitement just to be back…until they start to think about the homework they have to get done before school tomorrow. And then, there is the lack of outdoor playtime, because they have to get ready for the next day. That might be a bit of a let down, but that is what getting back into the swing of things is all about.

Corrie - nowIMG_2962It’s hard for me to believe that Bob and I became parents for the first time 41 years ago today. At 7:10am, our precious little girl, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen arrived in this world. When they handed her to me I was in awe. Here she was…our perfect little baby, and she was ours…forever. How could that have been have been 41 years ago, when it feels like only yesterday?

Over the course of the last 41 years, much has changed. Corrie is the mother of a college graduate and a high school senior. She has been at her current place of employment for over 20 years, and they would be in quite a pickle without her capable handling of her duties. Corrie also runs a business from home as a virtual assistant and ghost writer. For those of you who have never heard of such things, like I was, a virtual assistant does all of the things that an office assistant does, but from their home. Corrie has had clients all over the United States. A ghost writer, is an author who writes for someone else. The credit goes to the person who hired her to write the book or article. Corrie is a great ghost writer, but I think she should also consider writing her own book…because she could do it.

When I think of Corrie, the mom…the picture that comes to my mind is of Corrie in a cape with a big “S” on her shirt, because Corrie really has always been Super Mom! When her boys, Chris and Josh were little, she was very active in their school. She headed up the parent organization…what used to be the PTA, and now I believe it is POPI, but I could be wrong on that. She also made sure the boys got to play all the sports their little hearts desired. She kept up with their studies, so she could help when needed, or just to make sure they got everything done in time.

The years have changed many things now, and before long, Corrie and her husband, Kevin will be empty nesters. They already do many things without the boys, since they are working a lot of the time. Chris is 217997_1933024280848_2458511_nIMG_8303getting ready to get his own place, but they will have Josh at home a while…when he’s not working, anyway. Josh has decided to live at home while going to college, so that will delay the sting of his leaving. Empty nest or not, the future is looking bright for Corrie and her family, and while she will always be mom, she might have to retire her cape, because they don’t seem to need Super Mom much now, but Mom…well, they will always need her. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

DustieMy niece, Dustie Masterson is the daughter-in-law of my sister, Cheryl Masterson. Dustie’s loyalty to her mother-in-law is quite unusual. I don’t say that there aren’t daughters-in-law who are loyal and loving toward their mothers-in-law, because there are, and I am one of them, but many don’t feel any real obligation to their in-laws. Dustie is different, however. With Dustie, I see a genuine loyalty, friendship, and even love for her mother-in-law. She has truly become a part of their family, a fact that we are all happy about.

Dustie works at Albertson’s here is Casper, in the produce department. She is a Fresh Cut Specialist and Supervisor. She is also over all the salads that are created in the store. She sees all the latest in different sauces and salsas, and often buys them for Cheryl to try. I’ve had the opportunity to try some of them too, and I find that Dustie’s likes and dislikes in the food arena are very similar to my own. It is a yummy connection when I get together with Cheryl and her family on Thursday nights. For Cheryl, it is a welcome help in the kitchen, and the fact that Dustie is a good cook doesn’t hurt either.

1533909_1407746082798271_1468292285_n[1]Dustie’s life is usually very busy. With a husband and three children at home, and a full time job, she spends a lot of her time running whether it be at home, work, or errands. Evenings are spent helping the kids, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna with their homework, and getting them lined out for school the next day. As most parents know, having kids in school is like being in school yourself, because you have to learn right along with them in order to help them with their homework, and yet, you have to be a teacher too, n that you can’t do the work, but rather you must make them do it with the proper amount of prompting. And of course, you have to be the educational encourager, to keep them motivated.

It’s a busy life that Dustie leads, but one that makes her very happy. Dustie has been a part of our family for over 12 years now, and I, for one, don’t know what we would do without her. She was a blessing during the years we were taking care of our parents, and she always will be. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

11694089_10204683045098070_3668387031740809078_n11223795_10204683045538081_1404549543291501804_nPeople may think that having children is a way of staying young, or reliving our childhood, but in reality, having children ages the parents. They go from being free from responsibility to being surrounded by responsibilities. Diapers, feedings, and lots of tears give way to school days, after school sports, and homework…which gives way to the terrible teens, dating, and driving. By the time they have graduated and moved out, you tend to feel either old, or overwhelmed at the thought of an empty nest, wondering where all the years have gone. Ok, those years weren’t that bad, but if all that happened in a short time, you would feel completely shell shocked. Being a parent is a big life change. Of course, all too soon, those years are over, and our children are grown up. Suddenly, when we are once again free from responsibility, we just don’t feel the same about it anymore.

Then, just as suddenly our kids bless us with grandchildren, and in the absence of the parental responsibility, we find out that it isn’t our kids that keep us young, but our grandkids. We find ourselves going outside and playing with the kids again, and not just pushing them in the swings. Sometimes we have to wonder what we were thinking. When we try to do cartwheels, or skateboard, or jumping on the trampoline, and realize that maybe we were being young, or maybe we were being foolish. When my grandkids were first getting cell phones, they brought me into the 21st century where a cell phone was not just for talking on, because if I wanted to staying touch with them, I had to text. It was the thing. Thankfully that wasn’t dangerous. Then came Facebook, which I originally got of to keep up with my teenaged grandchildren’s busy lives…I know, I know, my Facebook use has exploded from there…what can I say. The things we do for our grandkids…right. But then, I would do anything for them, and I think they know that. Basically, what I’m saying is that my grandchildren have kept me young. How amazing is that.

That is what my cousins, Terry and Shannon Limmer have found out too. With grandchildren from wagon to bicycle age, they have re-experienced all of those life events that kids go through. One day, Terry got the idea to see if he could still ride a bike. Supposedly, it’s something you never forget how to do, right. The biggest problem I 11221903_10204685941610481_9165805021070964704_n11800126_10204685940530454_5069537387030457008_ncan see here is that Terry is pretty tall, and his granddaughter, Trinity’s bicycle is pretty little, since Trinity and her twin brother, Triston Patsie are just 9 years old. Nevertheless, Terry proved that he’s not old. He’s still got it, and that includes a bicycle that is far too little for his tall frame. Shannon also proves to the kids that she can still play, and she can either pull or be pulled in their wagon. Their play with the kids is that of adults going through a second childhood. It’s what we do for our grandchildren, because our grandchildren help us to be young again.

Caryn, Caryl, and CherylAlena and AllynWhen it comes to being spacey, kids take the cake. As a child, I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t find something, such as shoes, books, and homework, to name a few. Mom would always say that we needed to go look for it, and “Don’t walk around looking at the ceiling!” Her point was that it obviously wouldn’t be up there, or where ever else we were scanning in such a manner, and it was time to really look. It was really a laziness way to look for something, hoping that if Mom thought we had tried, she would come and really look for it. It seldom worked, and when she found it quickly by really looking, you could bet the next time she helped was a long way off.

One of the funniest things kids do is to look for something that they already have on, or in their hand. We have all done this one…and it is one of the spaciest things to do. It’s like saying, “Where is my cell phone?” only to be told that it is in your hand. Now, that’s embarrassing!! This one happened to my daughter, Amy when she was a little girl. She was getting dressed, and started looking all around for something. I asked her what she was looking for, and she told me her shirt. When I said that she had it on, she was totally surprised, and I laughed for quite a while about that one. It still makes me laugh.

Of course, kids aren’t the only spacey people around. How many times have you seen someone looking for their keys or their glasses only to find that they are carrying the keys in their hand, and their glasses are sitting on top of their head, or hanging on a lanyard around their neck. Of course, when that is pointed out, they are always embarrassed, because that makes them as spacey as the kids. For the adults, I suppose it is just because we have our minds on so many other things, but it still feels like we should be a little more organized. And speaking of organization…don’t get me started. How many times have you put something important in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost…only to find that you can’t remember just where that safe place was. You search and search, and finally find a way to replace it. Then you remember where you put it…of course.

Mom SchulenbergCorrie & Amy SchulenbergI think that as people get busier they forget things more often, and by the time the retire and aren’t so busy anymore…then for many, the memory isn’t so great, so the whole problem gets worse…my mother-in-law, for example. We had the worst time with her glasses for a while, only to find out that she was giving them away to “help” one of the other residents. It was a nice gesture, but a little pricey. So we had to get her a lanyard, so she couldn’t take them off so easy. It just goes to show you that when it comes to spacey…kids don’t corner the market. Everyone has the opportunity to do this at any time.

Fall Colors I10690246_10203971981118776_1956772674234253039_nAfter last year’s unusually hard Winter, with weather patterns that were dubbed Polar Vortex, I was not too keen on the idea of a repeat performance this year. Thankfully, I have been treated to the Indian Summer that I remember from my youth. Of course, we didn’t get an Indian Summer every year, but when we did, the neighborhood kids all celebrated. September always brought with it cooler weather, school, and the dreaded homework that came with it. It always seemed like having that hit all at the same time was really a very cruel joke on the kids. But occasionally, we got a year that made a lot of us feel a lot better about the coming Winter.

This has been such a year. With temperatures in the high 60s and into the 70s, more people have been spending evenings and weekends outdoors, enjoying the unusual warmth. Oh, I don’t say that jackets are unnecessary, but you wear them mostly in the morning and you find yourself taking them off a lot too. Kids are out on their skateboards, scooters, and bicycles enjoying the last few evenings during which they can play outdoors for a good part of the evening…at least until they have to go get their homework done.

For me, Indian Summer means a reprieve…if only for a short time…for the drudgery of Winter, while also giving a break from the worst of the Summer heat. I used to be a serious Summer person, but these days, I like the temperatures to be in the 70s and 80s, not the 90s and 100s. I know that my sister, Cheryl Masterson will still call 70s and 80s serious Summer heat, but I can’t agree with her there. Early Fall and late Spring are my ideal times of the year…provided that the fall is not too cool and the spring is not too rainy.

Indian Summer is said to be a time of unseasonably warm weather and little wind…but I doubt if they had seen Indian Summer in Casper, Wyoming, because we definitely have wind. I can deal with that too, as long as it’s not too cold. With this years lovely Indian Summer weather, and the opportunities to get out and hike some, I am feeling a lot less of the affects Winter brings on me, but then we are still on Daylight Savings Time until the Fall Colors II10659240_10203972000239254_4273656310780623661_nend of this week. I’m sure that after that the normal affects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) will begin to rear their ugly heads. For that, I simply have to spend as much time as I can in the sun, and keep telling myself that December 22 is coming, and with it, comes the beginning of the move toward the longest day of the year…one of my favorite days. I know that like every season, Indian Summer will pass, and Winter will pounce on us, as it always does, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy every moment and every bit of warmth of the Indian Summer that we have been treated to.

Tiny Mom 2As kids, most of us have varying degrees of difficulty keeping track of our toys, mittens, coats, shoes, homework, and other such vital items, and when it comes to actually looking for those lost items, we somehow seem to be less than adept. How can so many things simply disappear in our rooms? I used to think that my daughter, Amy had a black hole in her room, because some of that missing stuff was never heard from again…even when we moved!! Nevertheless, Amy was not alone in her mysterious disappearances. It seems to be a common problem among children…and some adults are no better at keeping track of their things…losing cell phones, keys, paperwork, remote controls, and any other item that they were going to put in a safe place, so it would not get lost.

I remember so many times as a kid, when I couldn’t find something, and my mom would tell me to go look for it, because she didn’t have time to hunt for it when we were fully capable. Caryn, Caryl, and CherylThat did not inspire us to go and search our rooms in depth until the much needed item was found, but rather caused us to wander aimlessly around our room…playing with other things that came into our line of sight, because those things seemed much more important than looking for a lost shoe on a school day. Then after playing for a little while, we would wander out to the front room again, whining to Mom that we just couldn’t find it. It was our hope that Mom would finally take pity on us and come to help us hunt for that missing item. Most of the time we were sadly disappointed…except for the possibility of the missing shoe on a school day, which usually found us wearing some other pair of shoes, that probably didn’t really go with the outfit we had on, but would have to do, because like it or not, we were going to school. Mom wasn’t about to let something as minor as wearing a dress with tennis shoes, keep us home on a school day.

So, we usually found ourselves back in the bedroom, hunting for that missing item again, and wishing Mom would just come and find it, because she was so much better at looking for Alena and Allynthings than we were. I suppose that she was right in making us do things for ourselves. I think I do better than the average person at keeping track of my things these days, because of Mom’s teachings. Although I must admit that I still lose things sometimes too. Mom taught us to put things away, although we don’t always do so…even today. But the thing I remember the most about those times when I was in my room hunting for a lost item, and unable to find it, was my mom saying, “You’ll never find it if you keep looking for it on the ceiling”, which meant quit walking around the room hoping it will jump out at you, and start looking under the bed, in the drawers, or in the closet, so you will find it already.

My daughter, Corrie’s family all love pets. No matter how much work they can be, they cannot imagine life with out their furry friends. Their newest addition was Molly, who is a miniature dachshund. Like many animals, Molly has her favorite person/pet out of the family. For Molly, that person is Josh, my youngest grandson. Molly does not appreciate it when Josh is not there There are rules, after all, and Josh is supposed to always be at home, or at the very least, take Molly with him. The latter doesn’t seem to bother Josh much either, in fact, last night he tried to take Molly to Youth Group at our church, which would normally be a problem, but last night it wouldn’t have mattered too much since Josh was the only kid there, and the teacher is my niece, Jessi. I’m quite sure they would have had a wonderful time with Molly. Nevertheless, Corrie caught Josh, and wouldn’t let Molly go. I’m quite sure they were both unhappy with her over that one. In fact, I’ll bet Molly practically glared at Corrie.

As far as Molly is concerned, Josh is her pet, not the other way around. She has it in her head that Josh should be with her all the time. School and other activities are just not allowed unless Molly gets to go too. That is ok with Josh most of the time too, but there is the small matter of homework. Molly doesn’t understand that Josh might be busy. That is when she takes matters into her own hands…or paws, or in this case, teeth. No, she doesn’t bite Josh. She would never do that, but she will use her teeth to pull off Josh’s sock and nibble on his toes. Now nibbling on someone’s toes is…well, eeeewwww, but Molly just doesn’t care what we think. If it will get Josh’s attention, she will do whatever it takes. I guess it is a way of telling Josh exactly how she feels, but I still think it is gross.

Josh and Molly are practically inseparable. There is no doubt that Molly is Josh’s best friend…at least in the animal world, and he is hers.  If it were possible, they would never be apart. It’s funny how animals have a certain member of the family that is their favorite, and the animal seems to thinks that the human is the pet. It is a show of love and dedication that you don’t get anywhere else. It is why we have pets I guess. Unconditional love and devotion to another being, whether it is man or animal is something very special.

When my girls were 4 years old and 3 years old, we were living on my in-law’s land, while we got our land ready to move onto. During that time, my sister-in-law, Brenda, and my brother-in-law, Ron were in elementary school and often needed help with their homework. I enjoyed helping them out, so they usually came to me for that help. So, many nights we had a tutoring session at my house. It’s pretty hard to run a tutoring session with small children around, who want to play.

I needed to come up with a way to help my sister and brother-in-law, and occupy my young daughters. Like most kids, the girls just wanted to do the same things the big kids were doing. The problem was that they were too young and would need more help than I could give them right then.

So, after giving it a little thought, I got each of my daughters a piece of paper and a pencil and told them to do their homework too. I was amazed at the way they did their homework. The girls didn’t scribble or draw pictures, but rather they made small careful circles. They were making their letters. As a mother, I was impressed and pleased at their very good attempt to mimic their aunt and uncle’s homework. They even stayed on the lines fairly well.

Things went on that way for a short time, and then Brenda and Ron started needing help with spelling. That…was the beginning of the problem. Before I knew it, Corrie and Amy wanted to learn to spell too. It all seemed innocent and, well even cool, but having them ask how to spell every word they could think of did get old after a while.

On day they started asking me how to spell the names of all their aunts and uncles. I was busy with other things, and really didn’t have time to go through every family member’s name. By the time we got to my sister-in-law, I had had just about enough of spelling. So, when they asked me how to spell Brenda, I very quickly blurted out B-r-e-n-d-a. Well, the girls caught BR, and that is the name that stuck.

At first, Brenda didn’t know if she liked the new nickname or not. When she was little, Jennifer had called her Bea, and she thought it would work into Aunt Bea. She never expected to be BR or Aunt BR. Still, it was a name that grew on her, and the kids really liked it. Before long, everyone was calling her BR. She has it on her license plate, and people have bought her blocks and plaques that say BR. It is her own nickname, unique and original…even if it was an accidental nickname.

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