Kids

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My niece, Gaby Beach completed her nursing degree with the December 2020 class, and has been hired by Wyoming Medical Center to work in the Progressive Care Unit (PCU). She has wanted to be a nurse for some time now, and once she left the US Navy, has used her GI Bill to realize that dream. Following her graduation, Gaby applied for a job at Wyoming Medical Center, and was quickly hired in the Progressive Care Unit(PCU), which is just a step below ICU. Gaby was hired on the day shift, which is a bit unusual, since many new nurses have to accept the night shift. She starts her new adventure on January 25th.

Gaby and Allen have been renting a loft apartment out in the country while she was not working, but now that they both work at Wyoming Medical Center, it makes more sense for them to live in town. Their next plan is to buy a house in town, but that will have to wait until Gaby is established at the hospital, besides when you think about it, moving in the winter is the pits anyway. For now, Gaby is enjoying being out of school for a while. She will need to go back, because nurses really need to have a Bachelors Degree, and the program she took gives an Associates Degree. Right now, she is looking at her options, because there are requirements the college must have in order to qualify for the GI Bill, and Casper College doesn’t offer the Bachelors Degree for nursing (BSN). Gaby is a person who isn’t likely to put off that part of her training, because she is highly motivated. My guess is that she will be back at it by fall.

For now, she is relaxing, free of her studies, and enjoying her dogs and her plants. Gaby has a definite green thumb when it comes to house plants. She likes the unusual plants, and posts about her success on social media. Her posts have actually turned her hobby into a bit of a business, because people love her posts and her plants so much that she has been able to sell plant shoots for astonishing amounts of money. Her mother-in-law, my sister, Caryl Reed can’t believe anyone would pay that much for a plant clipping. I guess the value of something like that comes from the person selling and the person buying the item. Unusual plants would likely bring more money. However she managed it, Gaby is very talented in nursing and horticulture. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

While many people had a terrible 2020, my niece, Toni Chace and her husband, Dave continued to work, and really ended the year in good shape. They didn’t get Covid-19, like so many in the family and hope they don’t. Normally they would do a lot of traveling, but like most people, that was curtailed this year. The only trip they took was to Centennial, Wyoming, to visit Dave’s parents, Jim and Nancy Chase. The trip was a blessing to all, and like most of us, much needed to keep us from getting cabin fever…no pun intended, because they were in Dave’s parents cabin, in Centennial. I’m sure it all felt rather confining for them, but sometimes, a nice quiet vacation can be very nice too.

As I have talked to Toni’s family members, I am told that she loves her dogs. In fact I’m told that in her family, the dogs, Biscuit and Cricket, are her first loves, with Dave, and her son, James coming in second and third. According to Dave he is the third position. I can’t really decide how “true” that statement is, because I know that Toni dearly loves her husband and son, but in the interest of telling the story as it was told to me, I’ll say that Toni really loves her dogs. James says that his mom loves her dogs more than him and Dave combined. As happens in most owner/pet relationship sources, especially when there are multiple people in the family, pets often choose one owner as their “own” human. That is the case with Biscuit and Toni. Biscuit loves his human…Toni. In fact, Biscuit actually gets separation anxiety when Toni is gone for work. Toni’s sister, Liz Masterson figures that Biscuit sits at the window all day, until Toni gets home. Life (for Biscuit) begins again when Toni (his human) gets home. While loving her dogs more than her husband and son, is a funny thought, it does go to show Toni’s heart for her pets and her family. She also love buying them treats and toys. I think maybe her dogs just like being treated like babies.

While her home is filled with mostly men (Cricked is a girl), her son, James brought home a girl who is in the United States on a work visa, named Manuela. She is from Columbia, and Toni likes her very much. The whole family does. She is bubbly and fun, and most of all, she loves Toni’s pride and joy…her son. Time will tell where that is going, but they are enjoying the journey. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Some birthdays are harder than others. Some people don’t want to turn 30, 40, or 50 and beyond, but if they think about it, those years are a blessing. The really hard birthdays…are the ones after a loss. Many of us have been there, but my grand niece, Siara Olsen has been through more in one year than anyone should have to endure in ten years. Of 2020, Siara says, “In 2020 I lost: My beautiful baby boy Alec Todd Olsen, my amazing and loving best kitty in the whole world Forrest, my husband and the beautiful family he brought with him, an energetic and loving puppy, and my home. This year could’ve broke me, and crushed my spirit but it didn’t. It caused me to gain so much faith in God, faith in myself, strength in all my other relationships and pride in myself for learning patience, trust, and most of all resilience. This year broke me down to nothing, but I have all the faith in the world this new year will grow me into the woman God created me to be. Cheers to 2021.” I can’t imagine all she went through. This was a year that could have broken Siara. She may be short in stature, but she is a strong in faith. I’m not saying that Siara didn’t feel the pain of loss, but she knew that she had to pick herself up, and go forward. Her son would expect no less of his precious mom. The year has been a long hard journey, and some days are much harder than others. Still, I am amazed at how this little girl can be such a strong woman.

Siara is a beautiful woman with a heart of gold. She puts a smile on the faces of all who know her. I suppose that is a big part of what makes it so hard to watch her go through this. Nevertheless, through it all, Siara proved that she is truly is an overcomer, and expects this coming year to be a very good one! After Siara’s divorce, she was able to move in with her parents, Chantel and Dave Balcerzak, where she received the loving care she really needed, but as I said Siara is an overcomer. Recently, she moved into her own home, and is starting over with a good attitude. She misses Alec very much, but she knows she has to go on. Her life didn’t go the way she expected, but Siara will always make the best of what she has. That is part of her strength!! That is the amazing part of her strength!! She is enjoying decorating her new home, and her new little kitten which she got from her aunt, Jenny Spethman. Siara doesn’t give up or get into a pity party, even though she has reasons to be sad. Siara overcomes and that’s is what makes her a strong woman. Siara is a person who always tries to keep herself on the sunny side…her grandparents, Allen and Collene Spencer would be so proud of her!! We all are!! I know it’s going to be a great year for her!! Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock is all of 12 years old, but he is already growing like a weed. Every time I see him, it seems he has grown several inches. Like most boys, Ethan is very excited about his growth spurts, most of which made him taller than some of the women in the family. At 12 years old, Ethan has passed his cousin Liz Masterson, and the next growth spurt will find him passing me…he is only half an inch shorter than I am now. I am fighting a losing battle, if I think I will be taller that Ethan for very long, but it’s ok. In reality, I knew he would get taller than me, because he is a boy who will be a man, and he comes from a tall family. Ethan’s grandpa, Chris Hadlock is 6’4″ and his dad, Ryan Hadlock is 6’3″. Ethan is projected to pass both his dad and his grandpa. It is expected that Ethan will be 6’5″, so he will very likely be the tallest person in our family. Time will tell, I guess.

Ethan, like many young people is very computer-minded. Ethan has discovered coding, and he really likes it. I can relate to that. I like computers and to a small degree coding, but Ethan really likes it. He is thinking about starting a programming/gaming business with his best friends Sam and Carter…at 12 years old. The truly amazing thing is that he would not be alone in starting a business at just twelve years old. There have been others who have done the same thing and ended up being very successful. Ethan played some sports in the past, but he has decided that sports are not very important to play anymore. Ethan would rather build robots and small computers instead. Like most students who love computer programming, Ethan understands the need and value of a good education, and he very much loves school. He is an excellent student, and works very hard at his studies.

Ethan is a sweet young man with a tender heart. Many kids, especially boys, don’t show emotions much, especially to their aunts, great aunts, and elders in general, but Ethan is an exception to that “rule.” Every time I see him, he is quick to come to tell me hello, and give me a hug. He always makes sure that I feel loved and respected. What a wonderful young man he is. I love his tender heart. He is loyal to his family, especially his grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and his little sister, Aurora. He is growing into an exceptional young man, and he makes us all proud. Today is Ethan’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My little great grand niece, Hallie Joy Moore came into this world on December 19, 2020 at 5:00am, in Laramie, Wyoming. Her family had excitedly anticipated her arrival, and she was already so loved, but she arrived two months early, and her time on Earth was not to be long. Hallie, who’s name means “Praise the Lord,” tried very hard to stay, but then she went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The doctors and nurses who tried so hard to help Hallie stay, will never forget this sweet little girl who stole their hearts immediately. In the end, she was just too early. Hallie went home at 5:37am, just 37 minutes after her birth.

Hallie Joy wasn’t here very long, but for those who knew her, in the womb during the months before her birth, in the moments after her arrival and passing, and in the hopes and dreams for her planned future, her impact was everlasting. This sweet little girl captured the hearts of all who had the honor of being there with her, in life and even after. Her spirit and strength will live on in all of her family members. We all feel like we knew her even though we didn’t get to “meet” her in person, because her spirit lives on in our hearts…and we will get to meet her when we go to Heaven.

Hallie is the second daughter of her parents, Lindsay and Shannon Moore. She has a sister named Mackenzie, with whom Hallie bears a strong resemblance. That in itself will be a blessing to her parents, because as Mackenzie grows, they will be able to see the shadow of her little sister Hallie Joy. Every time they say her name, Hallie, they will be saying, “Praise the Lord,” and they will also know that their little girl was a joy to all who knew her, and to all who know of her. She will always be a Joy to her parents hearts whenever they think of her. A child has a deeper impact than just the ones who got to meet them. Her extended family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many more loved this little girl before we ever knew that she was a little girl. We knew Lindsay and Shannon were having a second baby and we were all excited about it. We couldn’t wait to meet this baby, and that has not changed. We are all looking forward to meeting Hallie, who is with the Lord, and yes, still praising Him right now. That is the beauty of Hallie’s current life. She has had the opportunity to meet her grandparents, cousin, and many others who have gone home before her. She has been held in the arms of our Lord Jesus, and she has seen the face of God. Her life is not sad. It is glorious, happy, and beautiful. She is perfect, not weak or sick, just perfect. That is the greatest physical part of Heaven. Of course, the truly greatest part is knowing God…knowing Jesus…knowing Holy Spirit, and being always happy. One day she will know her big sister, when the Moore girls are together in Heaven. They will have so much fun, laughing and playing. There are no tears in Heaven…just eternal joy!!

When my nephew, Allen Beach was a little boy living in Washington state while his dad was in the Navy and out on a seven month cruise, my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Alena Stevens and her daughter, Lacey, Allyn Hadlock, and I went to visit our sister, Caryl Reed, who is Allen’s mom. That put Allen being the only boy in a crowd of women. For a boy of 3½ years, I’m sure that was overwhelming. All those bosses. Nevertheless, I think Allen had a good time.

I was thinking as Allen’s birthday approached, that no one had any idea where his life would take him. It’s not surprising that Allen followed in his dad’s footsteps, joining the Navy after graduating from high school, but truly, from there on out, it was unexpected. He had wanted to be train as a member of a flight crew for the navy, but small fracture of his foot caused him to have to give up that dream. While that was disappointing, Allen chose to go into the medical field, as a corpsman. The Navy can’t wait for six weeks to complete the training. That isn’t a totally unexpected thought either, because his mom, my sister, Caryl was a respiratory therapist. So, Allen trained to be a corpsman, and ended up serving in some pretty cool positions. He was a corpsman in Bethesda, Maryland at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as part of the medical detail to the President of the United States, and then he was stationed in Japan, where he met his sweet future wife, Gaby, who was also a corpsman, and is now a nurse. On a wonderful trip to Bali, Allen proposed to Gaby, and when she accepted, he knew his life was complete.

Allen and Gaby returned to Walter Reed Military Medical Center to finish their time in the Navy, and then began their college educations. Gaby still had time left in the Navy, so Allen started first, and after finishing his studies and obtaining his degree in Hospital Administration, they decided to move to Casper, Wyoming where Allen has family, so Gaby could start college in the nursing program. Allen was hired by Wyoming Medical Center as the department manager over the Referral and Communications Departments. Later he also became department manager over the EMS Department. Who would have ever guessed that the little 3½ year old boy running around his parents home in Washington State would have gone on to do the great things he has. It just goes to show that you never know what a child might choose to become, and sometimes their life experiences can play a part in shaping their future, even if it is having a fractured foot. Sometimes, the things we thought we wanted, turn out not to be the best for our future…while another path becomes by far the best move. Today is Allen’s birthday. Happy birthday Allen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

There are some kids that you can take one look at, and you know without a doubt that they are feisty and full of spunk. My great grand-niece, Izabella Harman is one of those kids. Belle, has sparkling eyes to match her sparkling personality, and she has the wit and smile to match. She loves life and loves her family, especially her older sister, Alice and younger brother, Jaxx. Nevertheless, she is very independent, and her mom Melanie Harman tells me that Belle has this “random rudeness,” just like her dad, Jake Harman, but somehow, her sarcasm doesn’t bring the same reaction as it does with her dad. In fact, it’s all her parents can do not to laugh at their little girl trying to show off her rude sarcasm, and all she can pull off is funny sarcasm.

Belle is a girly girl. She loves her makeup and lip gloss, her shoes and her clothes! The dunny thing is that as much as Belle loves her makeup, she really won’t need much as she gets older. Her eyes are beautiful, and will likely need little help, but like most girls, she will probably wear it anyway…and that’s ok too. She’s definitely a princess at heart. Of course, in my opinion, girly girls are great fun, because they make so many cute and frilly outfits for girls, and if the girl doesn’t like that stuff, it’s a bummer. These days, they even have tutu skirts, which we never would have put our girls in, in my day, but maybe we missed it, because they look so cute. Pair that with a pair of leggings and a cute top, and you have a girly girl’s dream outfit. These outfits are Belle’s idea of cute, and I agree.

Belle is such a cool little kid. She and her older sister, Alice keep their younger brother, Jaxx totally entertained. All I can say is, that it’s a good thing her parents are so young at heart, because they rarely mind the loud play and giggles that are common when you have three kids in the house. The reality is, your kids are only this little once, you might as well enjoy it. Sometimes Jake and Melanie post some videos of the kids at play, and it is very cool to hear their giggles and laughter. They wrestle around, make faces, and then they laugh about just how funny they are. And they really are. Today is Belle’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Keep being you, because we love it. Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Isaac Spethman is a very athletic kid. One of his favorite things to do is climb. I suppose you could call him the Houdini of climbing. Houdini was an illusionist, but he was also a stunt performer. I don’t know if Isaac likes illusionist tricks, but he definitely likes stunts. He also love to go with his mom when they are “adventuring.” He loves to forge. I think this kid might be half mountain man. Isaac doesn’t just look around for trinkets he can sell, he melts down pop cans and makes shapes out of them. He has also made knives out of spikes and rebar. I’m sure that one of his favorite shows is probably “Forged In Fire,” which is all about knife making. I have to admit that I like it too. The process is very interesting.

Isaac is a hunter now that he has passed his hunter safety class. He and his siblings have grown up around guns, and their parents have taught them, not only safety, but the value of life human or otherwise. They would never kill anything just to kill. They have too much respect for life to ever consider that to be ok. Isaac’s love of hunting and guns has made knives interesting to him as well, hence the love of forge a knife. Isaac enjoys other sports too, like wrestling and football. He is very good at both. He is not a husky kid, but rather is wiry, and that makes him a good wrestler. He is also a capable runner, which makes him a good football player, but most importantly, he is full of energy. He doesn’t like to just sit around. In fact, slow down…is not a phrase in his vocabulary.

Isaac is the youngest of his sister, Aleesia’s three older brothers. That makes him a couple of things. Being the youngest of the three brothers, he has had to learn to defend himself. His brothers, Xander and Zack are good boys who love their brothers and sister, but there is still that “I’m the boss of you” aspect of their relationship. That makes him both tough, and sometimes, put upon. Being the youngest of the boys, the only one he can be the “boss of” is his little sister, Aleesia. With that, it naturally follows that he is the most ornery to Aleesia, but make no mistake about it, he also watches her like a hawk. I’m sure that Aleesia has mixed feeling about all that, depending on what she needs him to be at the time. A brother who won’t let you out of his sight can be annoying, until someone decides to pick on you or you get in a jam. Then that brother is a very good thing to have around…as Aleesia well knows. Today is Isaac’s 14th birthday. I can’t believe he is 14. It seems like just yesterday that he was the baby. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My great grand niece, Reece Balcerzak made her debut into the world on December 14, 2017, about 10 weeks early. She was a tiny little girl of just 3 pounds 11 ounces, and 17¾ inches long. Since that time, Reece has been a whirlwind of activity, smiles, and most of all a zest for life. She is a little bit sassy and a little bit sweet…the perfect combination. Her moods show up all over her face, and you can tell what she is thinking by the looks she gives you. I suppose that is true for most of us, but Reece has such an expressive face, that her moods are plainly seen.

At this point, Reece is her parents’ only child, but she did get a new cousin this year. Little Max Herr came to visit her earlier and their meeting was just precious. Reece was totally taken by her little cousin, and enjoyed holding him and giving him kisses. I’m sure that when they are older, they will have a great time playing together. Cousins really are your first friends, and often, some of the best friends you’ll ever have. Plus, who can resist holding a little baby. It doesn’t mater how young you are or how old you are…babies are meant to be cuddled. It’s impossible to resist hugging those precious babies.

Reece is ever changing, and before we know it, she will be heading off to school, graduation, marriage, and babies of her own. Ok, I know that is down the road a ways, but time flies by so quickly that it will seem like it is tomorrow. Reece is so curious. Her mommy says that she can “do more during one unsupervised minute, than most adults do all day.” Hahahaha!! That is a dangerous situation for the mommy. It’s not necessarily that it’s dangerous for Reece, just that most parents have no idea how a child can get into so many things so quickly. Still, even when you find that they have made yet another mess in the two minutes when your back was turned, you know you’ve been had by that sweet little child of yours, and that adorable, smiling face. And the thing is…they know it too. They know that all they have to do is smile sweetly, and their parents will cave…at least when they are little. I have a feeling that Reece’s parents Keifer and Katie Balcerzak, have a lot of trouble being upset with her. All she has to do is smile, and look at them with those expressive eyes, and they simply melt. It is the greatest talent Reece has…to change people’s mood with her own. Today is Reece’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Reece!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Barry Schulenberg is a hard working mechanic for the State of Wyoming Highway Department. If a highway vehicle breaks down in our county, he is often the one sent to repair it. He also has to do maintenance work on the vehicles which means that he is on the, and that means he might have to work some overtime in the form of comp-time. That can make for a long day, and make it feel really good to get back home.

Barry and his wife, Kelli live out in the country east of Casper, Wyoming, and they really enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. That is also why they love to go hiking, bicycling, and camping whenever they can. They are nature lovers for sure. This year, with all the Covid-19 “social distancing” no one was sure if camping was going to be an option, but in the end, the campgrounds were open. So Barry and Kelli happily hit the campgrounds. They love camping in the Big Horn Mountains, but they also went to the lake and spent some time on the water just enjoying the wind in their face and the cool water on those hot days. This year they also went to the Black Hills to go camping. There is a lot of hiking in the Black Hills, and so they had extra trails to enjoy.

Barry does a lot of work around their place in the country. He has planted a bunch of trees, and he cares for them every day. He added a cover and a hammock to their patio in the front of the house. He keeps their acreage mowed, so that the risk of a fire is much less in the hot, dry summer months. A few years back a huge fire went through, and the homes that had mowed lawns faired much better the ones that had lawns that weren’t mowed. Barry has always been a worker, and he is always making improvements on their place. Many homes in the country are really just a house on a piece of land, but some people, like Barry and Kelli, have a place that has a lawn, trees, a nice house, even a large incinerator type of stove that heats the house, so little outside heat is needed. Everything is well manicured and looks sharp, and that is a credit to Barry’s pride of ownership. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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