Kids

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My nephew, Ryan Hadlock is such a good husband, dad, uncle, brother, and son. His wife, Chelsea tells me that he has worked very hard to become an expert at fixing his truck and their camper. They worked a lot on their house getting it fixed up the way they want it too. Ryan has been organizing the garage and shed and really making their house, their home. His sister, Jessi Sawdon tells me that over the past several years, Ryan has really embraced being “the only boy out of the four siblings” and helped each of his sisters to fix things in their homes. He has helped with their kids, and lending an ear whenever they need it. His sister, Kellie Hadlock said, “He is always taking care of me and showing up right when I need his help! Johnny on the spot when I call him!! Never expecting anything in return.” His mom, Allyn Hadlock said, “He’s such a great son to us! Always willing to come out and help with anything we need, whether it’s helping Chris lift stuff or digging a ditch, Ryan always comes when we ask.” Lindsay, Kellie and Jessi are so blessed to have a brother who is also their best friend.

Ryan is the only son of my sister, Allyn and her husband, Chris, so he knows how to tease, help, and be kind to his sisters. Ryan might say he’s “mean” to them, but he’s a teddy bear. He’s fun loving, just like his dad. He is a great uncle to nieces, Adelaide Sawdon and Mackenzie Moore. He is always ready to play with them when they are all together. The girls love to try to get him to catch them. Ryan’s children, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock are getting bigger now, so the things Ryan does with them have changed a bit. Recently, Ryan and Ethan have been working on customizing Ethan’s computer, and Aurora will always be Daddy’s Girl.

The whole Hadlock family loves to go camping, and some years find them camping more than others, Nevertheless, they all managed to get together a couple of times. Ryan and Chelsea probably got more camping in this year than the rest of the family. Jessi’s family was getting ready to move from Casper to Cheyenne, so they were packing and getting their new home ready. Ryan, Chelsea, and their kids have visited Jessi and Jason in Cheyenne, as well as Lindsay and Shannon in Laramie, for some quality time with the family.

Ryan has really been digging into God’s Word too. He’s really been a light to his kids and everyone he comes in contact with the things the Lord has taught him. Each time I see him he is walking the walk of faith and talking the talk of faith. You can’t be more proud of something than that. He has become a wealth of knowledge to his family about Jesus. He and his family take time to study. He had committed himself to the Lord and it is a blessing to get to talk with Him about the Lord! He spends a lot of time listening to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Joel Osteen, and Joseph Prince, and then he goes out and shares what he learned with the family. He loves and lives what he is learning!

He’s a happy guy with a great attitude and a great love for the Lord. He likes to play guitar with his dad, Chris. When his parents had their new home built, the put in a dedicated music room. Ryan and Chris have been having some good sessions in the music room together. In December, Ryan and his dad have planned a father/son trip…just the two of them for some male bonding time, and of course being guys means it must include sports, so they will be attending a Broncos game. I know they will have a great time. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Riley Birky has had a rough year, as has his whole family. The 2020 year began with the loss of his mom, Rachel Schulenberg, to a stroke. Rachel’s loss has changed Riley in many ways. Like most teenagers, Riley has gone through his share of wild times, but now he wants to make his mom proud of him. Now, he is on the other side of that old life, and moving forward into a better life. That said, Riley has been spending the last year really getting his life together, and really making a fresh start. Every day finds Riley trying to become a better person. He wants to be a and upstanding citizen, who is working for society. Every kid makes mistakes, and Riley is trying to make up for his.

Riley is really moving into adulthood in a big way. He has been with his girlfriend, Sierah Martin for over a year now, and he is working hard to make a good home for her and her son, Jace. Riley is working hard to being a good father figure for Jace. Riley working full-time to help support them, and often takes on odd jobs to give them a better life. He has also been being a good uncle to his nephew, Lucas and niece, Zoey, babysitting all the kids at his sister, Cassie Franklin’s house. Riley really enjoys time with his family. They play video games like Spyro the dragon. And, they share precious family times together. He has also been enjoying his dog, Nala, who came from his sister, Cassie’s dogs, Buddy and Maya. As we all know, a dog is man’s best friend.

Riley is pretty handy, so in his spare time he’s been helping his friend renovate their camper. Most renovation jobs take more than one person, and a camper is no different. I’m sure his friend really appreciates the help Riley has been giving. A great friend aids a friend in need, and that is what Riley is…a great friend.

Riley definitely misses his mom, but I know without a doubt that she would be so very proud of him. I can’t take away the pain of missing her, Riley, but I promise you…she is very proud of the man you have become. Today is Riley’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

This has been an interesting year for my nephew, Steve Moore. Steve enjoys doing things with his hands, and on March 5, 2021, he managed to get twisted up in the lathe. It happened to be the same day his father-in-law, LJ Cook was having back surgery, and the day his uncle, Ron Schulenberg was visiting, so thankfully there was someone there to help. things could have turned out much worse for Steve, but he got out of it just in time before it did more damage. Steve had to go through occupational therapy to repair the torn muscles. His hand will take a while to get back to where it was, but he has his hand and the use of it, and that is a huge blessing.

Steve was still recovering, when his company held their “late” Christmas party (lots of late Christmas parties this past year). They had decided to go to a place in Cody (Steve lives in Powell, Wyoming) called Cody Firearms Experience. Apparently they couldn’t have picked a better place, because everyone thought this place was very cool. Cody Firearms Experience offers practice ranges for shooting any gun, and they would have had Steve at that point for sure, but you can throw axes/tomahawks!! They give lessons, if you need them. Steve and his wife, my niece, Machelle Moore went back a couple times and that’s all it took. Steve is hooked. Steve and Machelle love to go camping, and so tomahawk throwing has become a part of the camping experience. He has gotten really good by practicing at camp and in their back yard.

In a normal year, Steve can be found helping his father-in-law and anyone else who needs help, cutting firewood, or just about whatever else is needed, but right now, he can’t stand any vibration on his hand. He even has a hard time running the weed eater, but he does get that done in their yard. That said, he had to take the summer off from trying to help his father-in-law get firewood for the winter. LJ found a guy that brought him some wood for the winter. It was already cut and split, so that was nice. Steve plans to work hard this winter to get his had back in shape for next summer. He is hoping he will be confident enough next summer to run the chainsaw. The chainsaw takes strength and hand control, so time will tell.

In the meantime, Steve has picked up the new hobby of throwing knives and tomahawks. His boys, Weston and Easton Moore love it too. It has been something that is a lot of fun for Steve and the boys to “bond” over. Then his work supervisor had a buddy that supplied them with some wood to throw in. They made some really nice targets. Since Weston lives in Butte, Montana now, Easton has had more time throwing, because he still lives at home. Steve even got the neighbor into throwing tomahawks. Then the neighbor brought over old kitchen knives to try. That didn’t work too well. They all ended up breaking. I guess kitchen knives weren’t designed for throwing at a wooden target. Steve ordered the good knives, and now they have knives to throw that don’t break. They are made of muck heavier metal. The tomahawks they used are hand forged, hand made out of Ohio…which prompted me to suggest that Steve needs a forge of his own. Machelle likes the idea, so I expect to see that going on in the future.

Steve and his family have been hiking in the Big Horn Mountains for twenty years, and going part way up one hill most of that time. They just love the area. This summer they hiked up higher up the hill than they had ever gone before and came across a replica (similar anyway) to the famous “Medicine Wheel” that is up there. They really like the are, because of the dark red dirt. They were hiking a different route, and ended up going to the top on the back side. As they were headed back to the truck, they found this wheel. When they got out the compass, they found that, sure enough, the lines are exact north, south, east and west. They felt like they had found a real gem. Steve and Machelle love being out in the mountains, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they find the other wheels they have heard are out there. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Harvey Ball was a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. You may not know him, but everyone knows what he created…the smiley face. Harvey Ross Ball was born on July 10, 1921 the third of six children to Ernest G Ball and Christine “Kitty” Ross Ball. Ball’s artistic skills presented early. As a student at Worcester South High School, he decided to become an apprentice to a local sign painter. Later he attended the Worcester Art Museum School, where he studied fine arts, however, it was not in the fine arts that Ball’s fame emerged. He is recognized as the designer of a popular smiley graphic picture, which became an enduring and notable international icon.

Ball worked for a local advertising firm after World War II. Then he decided to start his own business, which he called Harvey Ball Advertising, in 1959. He designed the smiley in 1963. The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, now known Hanover Insurance, had purchased Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. After the merger, employee morale was pretty low. The company decided to try to boost morale, so they asked Ball to come up with an image that would help. What he created was a smiley face, with one eye bigger than the other. The creation took Ball ten minutes, and the executives liked it immediately. They paid Ball a mere $45 for his creation.

The smiley face became part of the company’s friendship campaign, and State Mutual handed out 100 smiley pins to employees. The aim was to get employees to smile while using the phone and doing other tasks. The buttons became popular, with orders being taken in lots of 10,000. More than 50 million smiley face buttons had been sold by 1971, and the smiley has been described as an international icon. As for Ball, well…he never applied for a trademark or copyright of the smiley and that $45 was all he ever got for his trouble. I don’t suppose that did much for his morale. Nevertheless, State Mutual didn’t make any money from the design either. According to Ball’s son, Charles, his father never regretted not registering the copyright. Charles Ball said, “he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, ‘Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.'”

Ball had a heart for children, and founded the World Smile Foundation in 1999, a non-profit charitable trust that supports children’s causes. Then, he came up with World Smile Day. It was a great idea, I think. How nice it is to celebrate a day dedicated to putting a smile on your face and sharing that great smile with others. The first World Smile Day was celebrated in 1999. It’s been held annually on the first Friday of October since then. After Harvey died in 2001, the “Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation” was created to honor his name and memory. The slogan of the Smile Foundation is “improving this world, one smile at a time.” The Foundation continues to be the official sponsor of World Smile Day each year. We should all consider that slogan.

They never would have known, way back there in elementary school, but my grandson, Josh Petersen and his girlfriend, Athena Ramirez were going to be life-long friends, and now much more. Athena is a name of Greek origin meaning “Wise.” I like that. Years later, they found themselves working together, and they renewed their friendship, and before long that friendship grew into love. I can totally see why Josh is taken with Athena. She has a wonderful, bubbly personality, and a beautiful smile. She is such a happy person, so that smile shows up all the time.

In perfect Athena-style, her favorite flower is the sunflower. She also likes roses, and the two of them together, while not something you would expect to see, are beautiful. The sunflower totally fits Athena’s sunny disposition, so it makes the perfect favorite flower. Athena loves plants in general, so I know their apartment will be filled with beautiful plants. They even went to “Rock the Block” in downtown Casper earlier this month and got to paint so really cute planters. That made Athena very happy, because now she has more planters for the plants she wants in the apartment.

Athena not only loves plants, but she likes to get out in nature and see lots of them. One of her favorite activities is hiking, which my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I love to do as well. She loves spending time at the lake with her family and friends, and swimming and soaking up the sun. Being outdoors makes her feel happy and she spreads that happiness to those around her. Plus, it’s healthy to be out in the fresh air, hiking and enjoying nature. God made a beautiful world for us. Athena really loves to be out in it.

Athena is all about family. She loves her nieces and nephews, and loves spending time with her family. She has also enjoys hanging out with our family, because for her family is number one, and we have become her family too. No matter which family she is with, Athena brings the sunshine with her. I know my mom, Collene Spencer would love that too, because her favorite saying was “Keep of the Sunny Side.” One day Athena can meet her and my dad, Allen Spencer in Heaven, and they will just love her. I think Josh really needed a sunny person in his life. He can be a little too serious sometimes. He forgets to have fun, and Athena has taught him to have fun again. I love the saying they have about each other. Josh is her always, and she is his forever. Just beautiful!! Today is Athena’s birthday. Happy birthday Athena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

She is smart and funny and curious and asks a million questions…and remembers the answers to all of them!! She is Jolene Thompson, the daughter of my niece Kellie Hadlock’s partner, Tim Thompson, and we all love her very much. Jolene has a smile that lights up your day. Her eyes light up and her whole face smiles. Jolene has had lots of exciting things going on this year. She and her daddy have gone hunting and fishing. Jolene loves to do anything her daddy likes to do. She loves shooting, and is learning to be a great shot.

Jolene is a pretty little girl, who is tough as nails. There isn’t a wimpy bone in her body, and she proves that with every camping trip she takes with Tim and Kellie, or with just Tim. She doesn’t shirk her share of the work. I realize that a little girl can’t do a lot of heavy lifting in a camping situation, but Jolene carries her weight, and makes her daddy and Kellie very proud. Jolene is friendly, and easy to get along with. She and Kellie have become best friends. They love each other so much. Jolene is so brave and KIND! Kellie cannot say enough about how kind she is. This world needs kind people like Jolene.

This summer, Jolene got to go to Vacation Bible School with her Aunt Sarah Jarvis. She also loves spending time with Nana and Pop Pop (Tim’s parents, Lynn and Tim Thompson) and with her baby cousin Jasper. Jolene has just started Kindergarten, and is having a great time. Her curious mind is busily absorbing all the new information she is being taught in school. She loves to draw and build things. She loves animals. Both Tim and Kellie have dogs, so Jolene has “fur babies” to love.

Jolene has decided that she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. That seems to be the norm in the Hadlock sphere of influence. It is a good thing to get into, and a tough as nails girl like Jolene should do very well in such a career. She is already working on her shooting skills, so she is ahead of the game. And speaking of game, Jolene went elk hunting with her dad this year, and had a great time. As a non-hunter, I can say that I don’t know much about it, but Jolene is learning quite a bit about ways to draw the bull elk near for the kill. She has learned to facilitate bugling and even even cow elk urine to draw the male in. Now, I can’t say that I would be interested in that, but if I were a hunter, I’m sure I would. Go Jolene!! Today is Jolene’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Jolene!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

After making a move from Casper, Wyoming to Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 5th, my nephew, Jason Sawdon is settling into his new job and promotion, and great hours for a family man, with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Jason has had a long and successful career with the WHP, and this promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, is the next step in his decorated career. Jason’s job is to coordinate and test the equipment to make sure it is safe and effective for use in the WHP. He is so well respected and such a help to all who need him, which is no surprise considering his helpful nature. With the promotion comes a great schedule for a family man, with a wife who works from home. Jason now has evenings, weekends, and holidays off, so he and his girls…my niece, Jessi and their daughter, Adelaide, as well as, their dog, Daisy, have been busy exploring the Cheyenne area when they aren’t doing some DIY projects on their home.

Having weekends and holidays off has given the family lots of time for trips, so this summer, they have visited Laramie, Michigan, Denver, Casper, the Snowy Range, Medicine Bow National Forest, and Guernsey State Park. It has also been fun for them to explore their new area and Jason has had a blast doing it. The summer has flown by, and they have been so busy that they didn’t get to go camping as much as they would have liked, but they are going camping this weekend, so that will be fun.

My niece, Kellie Hadlock, Jessi’s sister tells me that Jason is the most helpful person on the planet! He can fix anything. It’s always nice to have a handyman around the house. Jason is a good cook too, even if he made the hottest tacos on the planet…totally by accident, of course, the last time Kellie visited them. Hot is a relative concept, because there are those of us who believe that it isn’t hot enough, unless it makes your lips numb and your nose run…me included. I suppose there could be a level called “too hot,” but I really can’t say I have found that yet, but then I haven’t tried every pepper. Maybe someday.

Jason is a very hands on dad, often helping daughter, Addi build things and learn new things. Addi just adores her daddy. Recently, the Sawdon and Hadlock families got the chance to go to an air show at the Cheyenne Regional Airport, and then they got to tour the vintage World War II planes there, as well as the more modern helicopters. They had a wonderful time going through them since my dad, Jessi’s grandpa, Al Spencer served as top turret gunner on a B-17, based in Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England during the war. Going through those planes is always a sentimental journey for our family. Now, the next generation will get to love it too. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand niece Hattie Parmely is a sweet little princess of a girl, who always wears a smile first. No matter what else she is wearing that day, her smile is her best feature and for a girl who loves her “bling,” it is the best thing she wears…ever. These days Hattie sweet smile is missing a few teeth, but that just makes it all that much cuter. Hattie is very much a girly girl, and she loves her bling. Even wearing blue jeans, Hattie chooses to wear sandals covered with rhinestones, so that her blingy side is displayed too. That was the outfit she had on yesterday at a family dinner. Her outfit was topped off with a pink t-shirt, and she looked very cute.

Hattie and her siblings, Reagan, Bowen, and Maeve, are home schooled, and doing very well in school. I asked Hattie and her older sister, Reagan how they liked their teacher. They didn’t quite get it at first, because I was, of course, asking them how they liked their mom, Ashley Parmely. It was funny, when they caught on. They both looked over at their mom and grinned. Hattie also loves to play the piano…something I have always thought I would love to learn, but have never gotten around to doing so. I’m happy that Hattie is going to be able to play the piano, because I think that the ability to play the piano is something that is so fulfilling and so soothing. I think the piano compliments Hattie’s personality perfectly. I love how Hattie has her own sweet personality. Most kids do, but Hattie’s personality is one that strikes me as being a very gentle and loving girl. She chooses to be the blingy girl she is. I am always amazed at how different some of the personalities are in children, even siblings. Of course, with brothers and sisters, that is to be expected, but even with sisters, each one has their own way, and that is what makes us all unique.

Living on a farm, Hattie loves to ride horses, and can often be found doing just that. She and her siblings have been raised on the back of a horse, so they are very comfortable there. They have also been raised on a bicycle, so they love to go riding too. The trails on Casper Mountain are favorites among the Parmely and Eighmy families. The fact that Hattie is a girly girl, doesn’t in any way mean that she doesn’t know how or want to take care for all the animals on the family farm, because she loves them all, especially the babies, of which there always seems to be a few. Hattie loves the homeschooled-farm-girl life very much, and if you have ever been out to their farm, you can see why. It is such a relaxed place to be, with no rushing out the door to catch the school bus, or rushing out the door to drive in their parents vehicle to the school…school is just steps away from their bedroom, and that is very nice, indeed. Today is Hattie’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!

The last two weeks of August were spend visiting our daughter, Amy Royce and her family. In my thoughts throughout the visit was the fact that their 26th wedding anniversary was just around the corner. I found myself thinking that it was amazing that they could have been married 26 years already. I also found myself thinking about just how happy and connected they are with each other. They are loving their life and their home, and it was a pleasure to watch them together. Their marriage has been blessed with two beautiful children and now the family is growing to include Caalab’s girlfriend, Chloe Foster…a beautiful girl and a great blessing to us. I love how their family gets together every week to spend quality time together. It makes their marriage and their family more and more rich in love and happiness.

When your kids get married, you hope the marriage will last, and you know that there are never any guarantees, but you want the very best for them, and that means a happy marriage. I am so thankful that these two “kids,” while young at marriage (18 and 19 years) were able to beat the odds and stay married. Not only that, but they were able to build a beautiful life together and raise two beautiful children, Shai and Caalab, together. They are so blessed and they are a blessing to us. We can’t imagine life without the two of them as a couple. Every year, their love grows more and more rich and beautiful.

Whenever we go to visit them, or they come to visit here, we have a wonderful time. They are fun-loving people, and yet they love being at their house, enjoying their beautiful back yard too. They have worked hard on their back yard, and every time I get new pictures, I love it even more. Amy never could get flowers to do much in Wyoming, but in Washington, her garden and flowers are stunning. Travis has always loved yard work, but like most men, prefers mowing the grass to planting flowers. Nevertheless, they have a wonderful vision for their yard, and it is so restful and peaceful. I just love sitting back there, enjoying the day. Travis loves to barbecue and their guests are, of course, the beneficiaries of his grilling abilities. They also love playing games like pool and corn hole, as well as getting the family bank together for a jam session in their recreation room. It is a wonderfully fun time listening to Travis and Caalab play, while Shai and sometimes Amy sing for us. They really make a beautiful band.

Amy and Travis love going to Ilwaco, Washington for little getaways. It is a quaint little town located across the bay from Astoria, Oregon. They go there a lot, much like Bob and I go to Thermopolis, here in Wyoming a lot. It is a place that is close enough for an anniversary getaway, and yet special enough for them always have a great time, and never get tired of it. Ilwaco is a little town, kind of like Thermopolis, but sometimes that is just what you need. A place with the much needed peace and quiet, far away from the stresses of daily life and the busy lifestyle you have at home. A cute little place where you can have romantic dinners and quiet walks along the shore (a river for us and the ocean for them). It’s just perfect for this happily married couple. Today is Amy and Travis’ 26th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary to you both!! We love you very much!!

The third year of my grand niece, Mackenzie Moore’s life has be a big one, and the summer has been packed full of fun adventures. The Moore family took a trip to Disney World and they had a blast. They have also been doing a lot of camping, which is a big tradition in the Moore and Hadlock families. The really cool park about camping with the family is that Mackenzie is having all that cousin time. Since Mackenzie and her parents don’t live in the same town as the rest of the family, the cousin time provided while camping is very important and very precious.

Mackenzie loves going to church. She loves God. She loves learning about her savior, Jesus and growing closer to the Holy Spirit every day. Mackenzie loves to sing, and her favorite songs are Christian songs…praise and worship songs are her absolute favorites. Mackenzie loves her church. She loves everything about her church…the songs, Sunday School, and the people…all the people. Mackenzie is much like her mommy, Lindsay Moore in that part of her personality. Mackenzie meets people and they are immediately her friends. Lindsay is that way too. They know everybody in their church. They not only know them, but the talk to them whenever they see them. Mackenzie and her cousins got to got to Vacation Bible School this summer, and they had an amazing time.

As Fall has arrived, Mackenzie’s life is taking on some new journeys. She started pre-school, and she has really enjoyed learning new things. She also got a new dog, Brinkley, which makes coming home from pre-school very special. Mackenzie is studying dance, ballet and tap, and when I say studies, I mean that she does go to class, but the dance is really built into her. She is very theatrical and imaginative, and loves to pretend and perform. She holds recitals for her parents in front of the fireplace, using it as her personal stage. She never misses an opportunity to sing someone a song! She is such a joy, so full of personality, and love!

There is one other aspect to Mackenzie’s life that is very special. Mackenzie is the coaches daughter. Her daddy, Shannon Moore is a coach for the Wyoming Cowboys. As I said, Mackenzie is a friend to everyone, and that includes the players, of course. The friendship between Mackenzie and the players is totally mutual. She loves to go see her daddy’s practices…or should I say she loves to “hold” practices with her daddy. Mackenzie puts the players through their paces, of course, using her whistle to make sure they can hear her, an they all love having their littlest coach. She is a blessing to them, and they ar to her too. Mackenzie’s third year was an amazing one, and I’m sure that her fourth year will be even better. Today is Mackenzie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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