Kids

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My sister-in-law, Jennifer Parmely is a Labor and Delivery nurse, and has been for about 40 years. I have no idea how many babies she has assisted in delivering, nor how many she has delivered herself, but I can imagine. Taking a wild guess, I would say between 20,000 and 50,000. That’s about the population of a small city. Now I could be off, but I don’t think so. I can’t say how many she has actually delivered, because they came before the doctor could get there, but I imagine there were some of those too. Jennifer has never wanted to be anything but a Labor and Delivery nurse. I have never seen anyone so focused. She knew what she wanted to do in high school and she has never waivered.

Of course, Jennifer, like everyone else, is more than her career. She is mom and grandma, or in her case, Oma. Jennifer had three sons, Barry Schulenberg, JD Parmely, and Eric Parmely, and now, she has four grandchildren, Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve Parmely. She cherishes her family, which includes, daughters-in-law, Kelli Schulenberg and Ashley Parmely. Jennifer love getting together with all of her family, but she also loves taking each of her grandchildren for a day that is all their own. They often go shopping, and of course, that includes a toy of their choosing. They love going with her, and it is a treasured special time for her too.

Another thing that Jennifer has never waivered in, is her health. Years ago, after having three children, Jennifer, like many mothers, had some extra weight to lose. She made the decision to get that weight off and get healthy, and she never waivered. Diet was a major part of her transformation, of course, but just as important was the strict exercise “routine” Jennifer had. I emphasize “routine” because, she never thought of it that way, exactly. Jennifer began to be an energetic, fast-paced, “everything” exercise enthusiast…she hiked, did yoga, skied, every exercise machine she could at the gum, you name it, Jennifer probably tried it. Like most of us, there were forms of exercise she likes better than others, but she has never gone back to a sedentary lifestyle, and she has never stopped eating healthy…that has kept her healthy for many years now. Today is Jennifer’s 60th birthday, and well…she certainly doesn’t look 60. Years of healthy living have certainly paid off. Happy birthday Jennifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I can’t think of anything that is harder for a mom than watching your child go through some of the worst events of their lives. Many people who go through that kind of thing, would sit down and stew in their depression, but not my niece, Chantel Balcerzak. The past year has been harder on her and her daughter, Siara Olsen than it was for a lot of us. On January 25, 2020, Siara’s three month old son, Alec passed away after a short illness. On top of that her marriage fell apart, and she got divorced. It was the worst time of her life, and she needed the love and support of her family. Chantel stepped in and Siara moved home for a time of comforting and support from her parents. Both of these girls are strong women, and they were not going to sink further into depression. Instead, they supported each other, encouraged each other, and made a plan to have a year of self improvement. Chantel’s husband and Siara’s dad, Dave Balcerzak was right there too. Giving the girls the extra support they all needed. They were all hurting, but they had to move forward.

The girls took a look at themselves, and saw that as many people had done, during the Covid-19 shutdown, they and added a few pounds and lost some muscle, and they decided it was time to get back on the right track. So they began working out over Siara’s lunches, and even set a goal for them selves. They had seen a commercial in which some chipmunks who were out of shape decided to go for “All Buff ~ No Fluff” and they made that their goal. Siara has spent a number of years in high school and college as a cheerleader, and of course, she is 23 years younger than her mom, but she tells me that sometimes Chantel beats her when they are doing pushups, so that is really cool too. Chantel doesn’t do girly pushups anymore either. They do the hard kind where you are on your hands and toes. I believe the girls will reach their final goal of looking amazing. They have already come a long way.

Siara tells me that her mom was always there for here throughout this hard, hard year. She was there to comfort her and take her mind off of her troubles, and give her advise when she needed it. When Siara moved out again and got a place of her own, Chantel was there to help her decorate it and make it her own. Chantel is an artist, so of course, Siara’s place is incredibly beautiful, and that is a gift in itself. When the chips are down, Chantel is really the person you want to have in your corner. I’m very proud of her and Siara too. Today is Chantel’s 50th birthday. It’s a milestone, and she looks incredible for it. Happy birthday Chantel!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Liz Masterson is a Journalism teacher at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming, and she is loved by all of her students. Being a teacher is a big responsibility. There is no such thing as a 9 to 5 teaching job. At night, there are papers to grade, lesson plans to prepare, and if you are Liz, there is also photographing every event that takes place at the school. There are times that she misses out on family events because of the workload she carries. Of course, like all teachers, Liz went through the Covid Online School Year, and like most teachers, felt like the students learned almost nothing during the online experience. Liz has been and strives to be an excellent teacher, and anyone who knows her, knows she is a great success. Liz may have faced some unusual methods of doing her job this past year, but she is still a devoted teacher. Her students become her friends for life, and continue to share the events of their lives with her. It’s because they know a teacher who cares when they see one. There is nothing fake about Liz. She genuinely cares about her students, past, present, and yes, even future.

While teaching is her passion, as well as her career, Liz is also an excellent daughter. Her mom, my sister Cheryl Masterson, raised Liz and her four siblings alone, and they are very loyal to her. Liz often does little things to make her mom’s life easier. After the recent two feet of snow we received, bringing to a standstill, much of Casper, Liz went over to her mom’s house, and dug her out of the snowdrift her house and yard were buried in. It was a massive undertaking, but Liz persevered and got the job done. Her mom still couldn’t get out, until the streets were cleared, and thankfully was able to work from home for a few days. Then, when the roads were open again Cheryl, like everyone else in town was able to get back to normal life again. Of course, Liz had to dig her own house out before she could come and dig her mom out, so she got a double dose of show removal.

Liz is the mother to five fur babies, three dogs, named Buffy, Luka, and Scout, and two cats, named Kitty and Izzy. They Love her to pieces…and the feeling is mutual. I often see Liz out walking her dogs…often in a stroller-cart because they get too tired or rowdy when she walks them. They just get excited and want to run in circles around her. To the casual witness, it’s quite comical, but to Liz, it’s pretty frustrating. Sometimes she just walks them one at a time…just for the sanity. She loves her babies, but it does make for a crazy live. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! we love you!!

My niece, Amanda Reed is a non-stop girl. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, she and her family go, go, go!! Of course, they work and do all the other normal things, but on the weekends, they are so active that it would make most people exhausted, and I am a really active person, so for me to say that, is really saying something. I don’t like Winter, however, so most of my Winter activity is indoors. Amanda…well, she doesn’t mind the snow. She is out there hiking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, four-wheeling…you name it. Nothing slows this family down. The like to live life to the fullest. Its a great way to be.

Amanda works at a bank in Rawlins, Wyoming, as a BSA Agent. For any who don’t know, that is an agent who keeps records and files reports that are highly useful in criminal, tax, and regulatory matters. The documents she files under the BSA requirements are heavily used by law enforcement agencies, both domestic and international to identify, detect, and deter money laundering, whether it is in furtherance of a criminal enterprise, terrorism, tax evasion, or other unlawful activity. That is to say that she protects the bank, and the rest of us from thieves who would destroy our economy by the introduction of fake money with no value.

The two most important people in Amanda’s life, are her partner, Sean Mortenson and her daughter Jadyn Mortensen. Amanda is a horse girl’s mom, and is there to encourage Jadyn every step of the way. f course, it doesn’t take much encouragement, because Jadyn loves her horse, and riding is something she would rather do over just about anything in the world. Still, there are good days and bad days in any sport, and Amanda is one of Jadyn’s biggest cheerleaders. She also is a sports daughter, encouraging her mom, Deb Lucero in her hiking. They recently went on a winter snowshoe hike in the mountains, and had a great time. They have a lot more gumption than I do. The cold/snow part of that would be a big problem to me, but not for these girls or for Debbie Morgan-Fall, who went along.

When she is not working at her very serious job, Amanda, her family, and friends like to kick back, and be hilariously funny. In fact, they are among the funniest people I know of. These people have no problem with acting goofy, dressing funny, or funny comments. They love to laugh and make each other laugh, and that’s what it’s all about. This group of friends love to get together and have a great time. They go to the lake, the mountain, or just hang out at someone’s house. They love time together, and refuse social distancing…like most of us. Togetherness, yep that’s it. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Like most kids, after they graduate from high school, my grandnephew, Weston Moore’s mind turned to getting a place of his own. So he found some friends and they got a place in May of 2020. Of course, we all know that 2020 brought with it some hardships in the area of working and spending time with family. While Weston was able to keep working, it just seemed prudent to move back home where he could spend more time with his parents, Machelle and Steve Moore, and his brother, Easton. I think everyone would agree that it was a good idea, especially his family, who all missed him very much. Not to mention the fact that at that time, none of us knew how bad Covid would or would not get, so Machelle ad Steve felt much better having their kids both at home.

Weston had been driving a little car, but during the time he was living on his own, he managed to save enough money to get himself a better vehicle. He knew he wanted an SUV, and had considered a Suburban, but in the end, he purchased a Yukon, which he is very happy with. He found it right there in Powell, and so didn’t have to travel to get it. Now that he has found his dream ride, Weston has begun to get it “tricked out” with a few new items to make it special. He added LED light strips, subwoofer, amp, stereo, and has a light bar that still needs to be installed. He also put on new brakes and rotors on the back, new tie rods on the front. Even though he has a sound system that could blow out the windows, Weston is very courteous about where he is at and what time it is, so that he doesn’t disturb people. Even his own mom has only heard it a few times. Weston has a big heart and will do anything for anyone!! When his grandma needed a ride to Cody the other day, and his grandpa, who recently had surgery, wasn’t ready for such a trip, Weston volunteered to take her. Of course, on the plus side, he got to drive the new car for a longer distance than just around town. Everybody likes an occasional road trip.

These days, with Covid heading downhill, Weston has started to think about moving out on his own again. He has a couple friends that have recently moved to Montana, and so he is thinking of moving there too. He has begun the job hunting part as well, because he doesn’t want to just move and have no plan. Of course, for his family, this will bring about the whole “missing him” thing again, but Montana isn’t too awfully far away, and they can make some weekend trips to see him. This will be a great new adventure for Weston, and something he will never forget. He might as well take the leap while he is young, knowing that he can always move back to Powell later on if he doesn’t like Montana. And it isn’t so far that he can’t road trip home. I know he will miss his family and cousins, but it will all be a great learning experience too. Today is Weston’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Eric Parmely has changed so much over the years. I find myself amazed at the life he lives today. Eric is husband to Ashley, and daddy to Reagan, Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. That’s his human family anyway. Eric and Ashley own a little ranch west of Casper, where they raise children, dogs, cats, goats, horses, turkeys, cows, ducks, pigs, and maybe others that I have not mentioned. There are always new babies on the ranch, and those animal babies are just as much a part of the family too. I can’t imagine all those babies in the family, but Eric and Ashley love each and every one of them. Of course, they and the children also understand that some animals are for food, and that is just how it has to be. The constants in the family of animal members, of course are the horses, cats, and dogs. They will never be food, as we all know. They are, and always will be pets.

Eric is a hard working man. He has a regular job, and then comes home and works hard on the ranch. He and Ashley bought a tractor that he is been fixing up. Once it is in good shape, it will be a big help to him on the ranch. There is much work to do on a ranch and a rancher needs the right tools. This tractor will put them closer to having all the tools they need. They live on a dirt road, so they need to be able to clear roads and so much more. Tractors and ranches just go together.

Eric has discovered audio books. To me that is vital. With our busy lives, finding time to read a book is almost impossible, but we can listen to our books while we work. Eric likes a variety of books, and just finished Harry Potter. I’m not into the Harry Potter stuff, but I love to listen to World War II books. To each his own, I guess. I find that audiobooks have broadened my horizons, and I have other types of books I have listened to since I started with Audible. Eric will most likely be the same.

Eric, being the dad of young kids, has had to keep up with all their activities. I saw a video recently of Eric trying to skateboard. He did pretty good, but I’m sure that the kids, especially Reagan can out-do him. It’s simply an age thing, so it would make sense for her to be better at it than her dad, but I could be wrong. I have been known to be wrong about such things, after all. Eric has recently discovered iced vanilla lattes and has switched to decaf coffee. Now, that part is odd to me, because he probably need more caffeine kick, not less to keep up with his busy lifestyle. More power to him if he can do it caffeine-free. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kellie Hadlock is a wonderful girl, who is always the happiest person around you. I don’t know how she does it, except that she has kept happiness in her spirit all her life. It was a top priority. She has giggled her way through life, and passed her giggles on to everyone she knows. She is a great joy to be around. She has been a great blessing to her family, especially her nephew, Ethan Hadlock, and nieces, Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore, all of whom love her to pieces. Kellie is a wonderful aunt, and loves to play with the kids. They totally enjoy being with her. She hangs out with her brother, Ryan Hadlock and sisters, Jessi Sawdon, Lindsay Moore and their spouses, Chelsea Hadlock, Jason Sawdon, and Shannon Moore a lot, and the whole family gets together as often as they can.

Kellie works at American Title and is well liked by bosses and coworkers alike. Kellie is a hard worker, who works carefully and accurately. She also decided to buy a house recently, and she really loves it. She lives there with her Yorkie dog, Leena and her birds…her pets. Kellie stays active and goes to the gym a lot. One of her favorite things to do is to sing at church. She loves singing! I think that when she is singing, Kellie is at her most happy. The nice thing about singing is that she can be happy about life, and singing still fits right in. Kellie has a beautiful voice, and is such a great part of our church worship team. Her solos and her lead singing parts are stunning. Many people would love to have a voice like Kellie’s.

Last year, Kellie met Tim Thompson, and they are very happy together. They get along so well and Tim really fits into her family. They are so compatible, enjoying many of the same things, but there are other activities that Tim has introduced Kellie to that are new to her. He takes her hunting, and to the indoor shooting range, which she really likes. They go hiking, snow shoeing, and just love being together. He comes to Casper as often as he can from Gillette and they have a lot of fun. She has her little dog Leena, who is just a tiny bundle of energy and Tim has a golden retriever named Jet, who loves Kellie and Leena. The difference in these two dogs could not be greater, but Jet is so gentle, and Leena doesn’t feel afraid at all. Tim also has a daughter named Jolene, and she is very sweet. She and Kellie get along great too. Tim has taught Kellie a lot about cooking, because he loves to cook and the whole family has benefited from his culinary skills. Tim is so good to Kellie. For her birthday he bought her a guitar, a gift which she is just thrilled with. With her love of singing, a guitar is just perfect for her. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The other day, I was sitting in my living room, working of a story, when it suddenly dawned on me that it was very quiet in my house. Silence, while not exact, is nice sometimes. It isn’t exact, because the clock was ticking, the birds chirping, an occasional car drove by, or a plane went overhead, and even a gust of wind could be heard; but for the most part, it was truly very quiet. I’m not one of those people who has to have noise around me. In fact, I would rather not have too much noise, most of the time. They quiet can be very reflective and peaceful, but we seldom get it. It seems like there is always some noise going on in the world, demanding our attention. Even the little kids have moments when the noise level is just too much. Even a sibling crying can feel like a lot. I have always been one to like the quiet, so I can think my own thoughts and analyze the things going on around me. I like quiet reflection.

The world’s noise is very demanding. Sometimes it almost screams at us. In stark contrast, the silence is relaxing. It doesn’t force itself on us. It simply lingers patiently in the atmosphere. Maybe that is why the song, “Silence is Golden,” was penned. It is a fleeting moment, like a sunset, and then it is gone, and the family has come home, the television is turned on, the chatter begins, and the silence is shattered. We must enjoy those moments when they show up, because we really never know how long they will last, or when the next one might occur. Silent moments are really a gift of God for those of us who don’t relish the chaotic noise of a normal day, but even we don’t always “notice” them.

Sometimes we are too caught up in our own thoughts to realize that the silence has descended upon us. I wonder how that is possible, but I guess that sometimes our own thoughts can be very noisy. Consider the last time you had trouble falling asleep. What was going on? Well, if you’re like me, your head was filled with thoughts…the cares of the day, that you just couldn’t seem to shut off. What we wouldn’t give to be able to shut off the noise of our thoughts. We can go to an empty place, away from the outside noises, away from family, and turn off the television and radio; but those pesky thoughts in our head are very hard to turn off. Oh…that we could only have a switch for that. Then maybe we could finally get to sleep.

The people of my generation will remember the Hula Hoop. They are still around, of course, so the people of the current time might know about them too, but actually may never have tried one. As a kid, I suppose I was able to do the Hula Hoop to a degree, but I was never at the expert level by any means, even though I tried. When I say expert level, I an not talking about being able to keep the Hula Hoop going, because I could do that, but there were people who could keep it going on their arm or leg, and even their neck. I was always amazed at their agility and their skills…especially since I couldn’t master those tricks.

The Hula Hoop was invented in 1958, and quickly became a huge fad when it was marketed by Wham-O. It was patented on March 5, 1963 by the company’s co-founder, Arthur “Spud” Melin. The company sold an estimated 25 million of the hip-swiveling toys in its first four months of production alone. Melina and Knerr were inspired to develop the Hula Hoop after they saw a wooden hoop that Australian children twirled around their waists during gym class. Wham-O began producing a plastic version of the hoop, dubbed “Hula” after the hip-gyrating Hawaiian dance of the same name, and demonstrating it on Southern California playgrounds. Hula Hoop mania took off from there.

The Hula Hoop has even set some records in it’s day. “According to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, in April 2004, a performer at the Big Apple Circus in Boston simultaneously spun 100 hoops around her body. Earlier that same year, in January, according to the Guinness World Records, two people in Tokyo, Japan, managed to spin the world’s largest hoop–at 13 feet, 4 inches–around their waists at least three times each.” The enormous popularity of the Hula Hoop was short-lived and within a matter of months, the masses were on to the next big thing. However, the Hula Hoop never faded away completely and still has its fans today. In fact, the “Smart Hula Hoop” is taking on a whole new look and a new use…exercise. Not that it wasn’t exercise before, but no one really thought of it that way, maybe because you couldn’t really keep it around your waist long enough to get a really good workout. So, someone came up with a version that doesn’t exactly look like the original Hula Hoop, but it works essentially the same as it’s older version.

My grand niece, Christina Masterson is a dental hygienist by trade, who has been promoted to assistant office manager. As most of us know, 2020 was a tough year on many businesses, and dentists were among the hardest hit. I can’t tell you how many times my own cleanings have had to be rescheduled throughout the year. Of course, I am one person who had to be rescheduled, but for people in the field, like Christina, it was a complete shutdown for 6 to 8 weeks in March, due to Covid-19. Thankfully, Christina’s skills allowed her to pick up a few hours at an emergency dental clinic during those weeks. When the lockdown was ended, Christina wasn’t sure where things would stand for her. She was working at another office because her old office had closed, but she wasn’t really happy there. When her old office opened up again, they asked her to come back, and she was delighted. She had been praying for another job to open up for her, and her old office was her answer to prayer.

The pandemic left many people wondering if they would have a job to come back to. Christina’s strong faith in God helped her to get through these very tough times. Tough times don’t necessarily build faith, but if you have faith, you can get through the tough times. I would hate to face the tough times without God, and I’m sure Christina feels the same way. I think there were a lot of people who found themselves in a make or break time with their faith. Churches were closed, and depression set in with a lot of people. I am so thankful that Christina had already begun to cement her relationship with God before the pandemic hit. It gave her a head-start on her faith in a time when she needed it most. Now that things are improving, she finds herself in a really good place.

Now that things are opening up again, Christina has decided to focus on herself a little bit. The Covid lockdowns put a lot of people in an over-eating-under-exercising mode for a time. Many people found that as things opened up, their clothes didn’t fit like they used too. Now I don’t know if Christina put on any weight, but like many of us, she needed to get back to working out. So, Christina set herself to becoming the new and improved Christina. She joined a gym, started working out on a regular basis, and she started eating healthier and juicing. Christina has always stayed in pretty good shape, but I’m sure she is feeling so much better these days. Things in her life are lining up again, and 2021 is going to be a great year. Today is Christina’s 25th birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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