skiing

My grand niece, Maeve Parmely is the youngest of the 4 children of my nephew, Eric Parmely and His wife, Ashley. She has two older sisters, Reagan and Hattie, and an older brother, Bowen. These kids are being raised on a farm, with lots of animals to take care of and play with. In fact, Maeve was hanging around all those farm animals the day before she was born. Maeve isn’t even the youngest of those who live on the farm, because it seems like new babies come around all the time. Like her siblings, I assume she has seen new life come into the world, and if she hasn’t yet, it won’t be long before she does. Before long too, she will be riding a bicycle around the property with her siblings, but I guess that one year old is still a little bit young for that…for now.

One thing Maeve isn’t to young (or too old) for is cuteness. This little girl is cuteness overload. She knows just what to do to make everyone around her smile. Maeve loves hugs and seeing her family smile. I have no doubt that she will be involved in all the antics of her older siblings in no time. The youngest usually gets involved in the best stuff, because her older siblings already know the ropes. These kids have great imaginations, and you just never know what they might come up with. Still, Maeve’s sweet little face will most likely keep her out of a great deal of trouble with her mom and dad. Seriously, who could resist that cute little face.

Maeve is to be the last of Eric and Ashley’s kids, although I think Ashley would willingly have an even dozen. She loves her babies, and now will have to settle for fur babies, I guess. Maeve has had a lot of life experiences in this first year of her life. She’s helped with the animals, of course, ridden on her mommy’s back while her mom stacked hay. She’s been skiing on the mountain. hiking on the trails, and helping her mom around the house. She’s her daddy’s little girl, and she keeps him wrapped around her finger, and she keeps her siblings busy getting her whatever she wants. How could life possibly get any better. Today is Maeve’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Maeve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely met her partner, Brian Cratty, I remember thinking about how quiet he was. I suppose it isn’t surprising to have someone be a little quiet when meeting a large family like ours is. It takes a brave person to walk into a big family for the first time. I know, because I’ve been there. So when Jennifer brought Brian to meet the family I felt a little bit sorry for him. It’s sort of like standing before a crowd of hundreds of people to give your first public speech, and you’re 13 years old. Once you get to know Brian, you can see the gentle, kind man that Jennifer fell in love with.

Brian and Jennifer are soulmates. They have the same interests, and are going in the same direction. They love spending time on the mountain, and the time of year doesn’t matter a bit. For them, Summer is no different than Winter, when it comes to how much they like it that is. I personally don’t care for Winter…in any location. I love the mountains, but in the Summer, when I can hike. Brian and Jennifer, and most of their family, love to ski, so the mountain in the Winter is great for them too. Brian likes to ski, and hike, but one of his favorite activities in mountain biking. He gets on his bicycle and hits the trails around their cabin on the mountain. She might not see him for an hour at a time, because he is out there in his own world.

Brian has been such a blessing to Jennifer’s family, and to the rest of our family. The little kids love him, and he is very good to them. He fits in well with all of us, and while he is a quiet man, he can carry on a great conversation with the best of ’em. We all love having him around, and he is a great partner to Jennifer, and grandpa to the babies. Today is Brian’s birthday. Happy birthday Brian!! 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 nephew, Sean Mortensen is a very busy guy. If he is not working, he’s outdoors in one capacity or another. He and my niece, Amanda Reed have a 15 year old daughter, Jadyn who is very busy with horses, and that means the family attends lots of competitions. Sean and Amanda are very supportive of their daughter’s dreams, and they will do whatever they can to help her accomplish them. Sean loves his girls, and they love him. They are a wonderful family unit, doing lots of things together.

Sean and Amanda also have a great group of friends, and they all love to go camping, boating, skiing, snowmobiling, 4 wheeling, or any other sport you can think of. Rarely do you see a family who is so outgoing, all the time…nor one that is good at so many types of sports. They always have fun. Recently they all went camping for nine days. They went with a large group of people and everyone had a wonderful time, even Carp shooting. I wouldn’t have ever thought of fishing that way, but these guys seem quite skilled at shooting a fish with a bow and arrow. Sean’s brother, Tyler and his wife, Heather were among those who went. These two couples have a great relationship. They enjoy being together.

Sean is an active guy, who enjoys being very goofy, but then so do their friends. Everything from goofy wigs to wild outfits. He’s up for anything that will get a laugh out of his friends. Still, when it comes to work, Sean is all business. Sean has worked at Sinclair Oil Refinery for a while now, and is good at his job. There are many reasons to work carefully and observe safety regulations in a refinery, and Sean is diligent in both work and safety. After all, he has two great girls to come home to every day. Today is Sean’s birthday. Happy birthday Sean!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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!!

My nephew, Barry Schulenberg has always been a hard worker. From the time he was a little boy, he worked hard to help his grandpa, Walt Schulenberg with anything he was working on. It didn’t matter what his grandpa was doing, Barry wanted to do it too. In fact, Barry once told his mom, Jennifer Parmely that he was going to quit school so he could help his grandpa. He was going to work on and drive trucks. The reality is that Barry did grow up to drive and work on trucks. His own vehicles are pickups, and he works on the trucks for the State of Wyoming. He hasn’t changed a bit since he was a little boy.

Barry has always been the kind of guy that you can count on.He helps his brothers and his uncles with projects they are working on. They have a great network of assistants, and that makes for a very good team of people. This year Barry has been helping his Uncle Ron Schulenberg in cutting and splitting the mountain of wood it takes to heat their home for the winter. Barry has also been working on insulating his garage. As a mechanic, Barry spends a lot of time in his garage, and staying warm while working is vital.

While Barry is hard working man, he is not all about work. He and his wife Kelli love to travel and they have gone on many trips. They like to attend concerts, and to go hiking. They also like snow shoeing and skiing. A favorite place to go camping is in the Big Horn Mountains, but they also enjoy a number of spots in Colorado. This pas summer, they took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and several areas of Montana, took in a concert and had a great time relaxing.

A year ago, after losing their beloved Black Labrador, Dakota, Barry and Kelli decided to take the plunge and get another dog. They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix that they named Scout. When a dog is a puppy, you don’t always know how they will turn out, but Scout and Barry are best buddies. Scout loves Kelli too, but he likes hanging out with Barry a lot. They “work” together on whatever Barry is doing, because Scout is a little bit like his owner. He just wants to hangout and ride in trucks. He would probably work on them too…if he knew how. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kelli Schulenberg hates the winter cold, but since she lives in Wyoming, and we get winter here, like it or not, Kelli has been learning to adapt. She has always loved hiking, and spending time in the mountains, but the wintertime was simply not her favorite time of year. Nevertheless, I think that Kelli is coming around to the Wyoming way of thinking. Ok, maybe not, but she is adapting to the winter a little bit anyway. These days Kelli can be found cross country skiing and horseshoeing in the winter on the mountains. Maybe she is adapting more than I have, and I’ve lived here years longer than Kelli has. While I love hiking and being outdoors, especially in the mountains, I have no desire too go skiing or horseshoeing…or anything else that has to do with winter in the outdoors, even though I love Wyoming. Kelli loves to travel, and that’s something we both agree on. She and her husband, Barry have taken many trips to beautiful places around the United States. While many of the trips have been to attend concerts, they have gone through some beautiful country too. I’m sure that Kelli will always prefer summer to winter, and probably Texas to Wyoming, but for now, she is adapting.

She is a purist when it comes to the country, enjoying country life, but very much against the industrialization thereof. When she and Barry bought a piece of land east of Casper, it was quiet and peaceful…until a company put up a wind farm behind their house. I have long been fascinated by the big wind turbines, but I have never lived next to one, so quite possibly I don’t know how loud they are. I suppose they would be an eyesore, when located net to your nice, quiet backyard. I also don’t know if they would be a problem, if one were to think about raising donkeys, which has been a lifelong dream of Kelli’s. Maybe, the animals would be spooked by the wind turbine, for all I know of them. All that doesn’t really matter, because the turbines are there, and they are there to stay.

Kelli is a bubbly person, who loves to laugh. She has a great smile, which is most likely what attracted my nephew to her in the first place. She is fun loving and outgoing. Her love of travel has opened many new vistas to Barry, as they have traveled more together than he ever did before their marriage. Whatever else it was that attracted them to each other, it was definitely true love, because they have been married for almost 15 years now, and they are still going strong. It must be love. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Jaydn Mortensen is a sweet girl with a great sense of humor. She loves her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen, and they dearly love her. You don’t often see such a good relationship between parents and child, but somehow they have mastered it with Jaydn. They go camping together, boating together, skiing together, and snowmobiling together. And they play together and joke together. Jaydn has grown up doing these things and being the apple of her parents’ eye.

Early on in her life, Jaydn fell in love with horses, and they with her. She learned to ride and to compete. She has won competitions, and she is a great equestrian. With each passing year, she gets better and better. Riding has become something that is ingrained in Jaydn. She will probably always love it, because it is in her blood now…in her DNA. It will most likely always be a part of who she is. It wouldn’t surprise me to she Jaydn live on a ranch in her adult life, because I don’t think she would want to be very far from her precious horses.

While horses are in Jaydn’s blood, they aren’t everything that Jaydn is. Jaydn is well able to ride motorcycles, four wheelers and snowmobiles. It would seem that Jaydn is a multi-talented girl. She not only can ride a multitude of vehicles, but she is good at it. Jaydn’s parents are very active people. They are very social people, and they take her everywhere with them and their friends, allowing her to participate with adults who like to do the same things she does. She has learned from a variety of teachers. I don’t know if they specifically taught her, but she watched them…learned from them. And she had a great time learning. She became a social person and learned that from her parents and their friends, and so Jaydn, who seemed to me a quiet girl, might be somewhat quiet, but she is in no way shy, but just the kind of person you want to be around. Today is Jaydn’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Jaydn!! We love you!!

JenniferWhen it comes to the ways we each help others, I think they are often as varied as the people doing the act. When my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg found herself in a health crisis she called me to help her walk through the hospitalization and the many doctor visits. That was probably a good decision to make, as that is something I have a knack for. But, when it came to someone to help her with her plans to get in shape, she looked to her sister, Jennifer Parmely. That was probably one of the smartest choices she could have ever made. Jennifer is without question, one of the best people I know to inspire someone to keep going when it comes to diet, exercise, and fitness in general. Her determination and drive have pushed her from a place in her own life when she was overweight, to many years of good health and a slender lifestyle. She knew what she needed to do, and she set her mind to doing it. Failure was not an option. Not many people can stick to their guns in such a way. The statistics show that most people who set out to diet and get in shape, will fail to reach their goal. Life always seems to get in the way, and maybe a little bit of depression too. Before long, most people give up, but not Jennifer, and now, not Brenda either.

Jennifer was a different person years ago…right after having her two youngest boys. She was carrying a little extra weight, and then suddenly, she wasn’t. Most of us who knew her, were in awe of her determination. That’s what it takes to make a life change. You have to make up your mind that you are going to do it, and then don’t let anything get in your way. Jennifer did just that. She took up skiing, hiking, jogging, bicycling, and imageany other form of exercise she could think of. And she got to the point where exercise didn’t seem like exercise, but rather like activity. It’s a talent we could all stand to learn, and one that would serve us well for years to come.

Sometimes, I find it funny that we can have a career that really is perfect for us, but still have a talent in another area completely, and we are really good at that too. I am an insurance agent, and I’m good at my job, but I am a good caregiver, author, and computer tech too. Jennifer is an OB nurse, but she could easily be a dietician and a personal trainer, and whether she ever decided to be a personal trainer for anyone else, Jennifer has been the perfect personal trainer for her sister, Brenda. Somehow, those secondary skills, can become the most important thing we have ever done in our lives. They can be the most life changing gift we can give to those around us. Today is Jennifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Jennifer skiingSnow CoveredAfter a recent storm dumped eight to twelve inches of snow on the Casper area, I noticed just how beautiful the white blanket was, as I looked across the grounds of the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives. Not being much of a winter person, I can’t say that I always appreciate the white stuff, and in all reality, I do hope that storm was Winter’s Last Hoorah for the year, but whether it is or it isn’t, on this particular day, it looked very pretty to me. A thought came to me that maybe I should take a walk through the snow with my camera because there might be some beautiful sights to see, but we were on our way in to visit my mother-in-law, so I did not go for that walk. Nevertheless, the picture of that white blanket of snow has stayed in my mind.

Some people love all the different seasons, and they get out and do different things to enjoy each of them, but I usually prefer to snuggle up wrapped in a warm blanket and watch a good television show or movie on those cold winter nights, and not do as my sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely, or her son Barry Schulenberg and his wife, Kelli do, which is to get out and ski or snowshoe through the winter scenes. I do, however, enjoy looking at the pictures they post about those activities. I guess I am more of a Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade type of winter person. I’ll take a beautiful snow scene on a card or picture over the real thing any day, because while a card or picture leaves you with a warm, cozy feeling, the real thing is inevitably cold, blustery, and most generally just not fun.

Still, on that day, I felt just a slight tug…almost a desire to walk through the snow, just to see where it took me, and what beautiful scenes it lead me to. I have a feeling now, that if I had gone on that walk, I would have been somewhat disappointed. It’s hard for a summer person to actually experience that cozy feeling when they actually get out in that blustery cold. Somehow, the coziness is lost in winter’s cold, snowy air. It’s funny how something so cold, can look so pretty though. I think that if there is snow in Heaven, I’ll have to ask that it somehow feel warm…at least to me. I suppose that some people, like my sister, Cheryl Masterson will feel just the opposite, but I’m sure God can work it out to suit both of us just fine.

Nevertheless, on that day, and with that particular snow storm, I could picture in my mind’s eye just how Barry snowshoeingKelli snowshoeingbeautiful it would be to take a solitary walk through the cold, snowy park in the moonlight. I could picture the moon’s light creating snow diamonds across the pristine snow. I could imagine that I didn’t feel cold at all, but rather that a cozy feeling prevailed over the evening. I could even picture a deer quietly walking in front of me, seemingly not afraid at all. And maybe I could even picture the two of us walking through the snow in quiet, peaceful harmony. At least, that was what I could picture in my mind’s eye, even if the reality would have been very, very different.

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