animals

My grand niece, Reagan Parmely almost shared her mom’s birthday, but she stalled just long enough to have her birthday the next day. I know how that is. I was supposed to be born on my dad’s birthday, but I stalled two days. It wasn’t our fault. After all, we didn’t know, we were just being born when we were supposed to. Well, all kidding aside, the day Reagan was born changed the lives of her parents, Ashley and Eric Parmely, forever. That was the day they became parents. They were no longer parents-to-be or a couple. They were parents and they had a family. It is the most amazing day in a person’s life. That was 8 years ago, and now Reagan is big sister to three siblings…Hattie, Bowen, and Maeve. Life is good!!

Reagan has grown up around farm animals, and for most of her life, that was all about the cuddling and chasing of the animals and their babies, but as she grew, she began to understand that sometimes, you are raising your family’s food, and that as such, the food must be killed so it can be eaten. I don’t think that is an easy lesson for anyone, adult or child. I have raised cows too, and I didn’t want to watch on butchering day, but you have to help, and there it is. Reagan understands this, and while she may not like that part, she knows that it puts food of the family table. I am very proud of Reagan’s maturity in these things.

Reagan and especially her sister, Hattie, has become excellent horsewomen. Their brother, Bowen is coming along too. When these kids were little, I found myself feeling amazed at these little kids standing on the ground beside these great horses, and they weren’t afraid at all. Now, these little kids can ride horses like the wind, and they are only getting better and better. When I first saw them on those horses, they looked so…little, and since I have not grown up around horses, I thought that it looked so dangerous, but these kids, and Reagan first felt right at home. Of course, they have been on these horses since they were just babies riding with their mom, who has also been riding since she was little. These day, with Reagan leading the next generation, the Parmely kids are spending lots of time riding their horses, and really enjoying the outdoors. Today is Reagan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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!!

These days there aren’t many people who haven’t heard of the Santa Ana winds, the California wildfires, or this year, the burning of Australia. We hear all about how global warming is the cause of the tragic fires and loss of both vegetation and life, human and animal. I agree with the analogy that the fires in Australia are horrific, but the cause…well, that has been determined to be, not global warming, draught, or lightning, but rather arson…ARSON!! Disgusting just isn’t a big enough word for what that is.

I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to burn something…anything. You can call it a sickness, and maybe it is, but that cannot be an excuse. If we allow such an excuse, more and more people will use it, take out their frustrations on things around them, and then expect to be excused because they are “sick.” At this point, firefighters are battling wildfires across Australia. Meanwhile, the police in New South Wales have arrested dozens of people for offenses related to fires, including 24 for deliberately lighting fires and three for looting fire-ravaged communities. There is also a story saying that 183 to 200 people are suspected of “fire-related offenses since November 8th, including for ‘allegedly discarding a lighted cigarette or match on land,’ but no verification as to the exact charges being lodged.

It is sad that the most common motive for wildfire arson is crime concealment. Fires are set for the purpose of covering up a murder or burglary or to eliminate evidence left at a crime scene. Fires have also been known to be set to further social, political, or religious causes. The fire set to cover up a crime, while horrific, is at least explainable, but fires set for political, social, or religious reasons is completely disgusting. There is just no excuse for the loss of homes businesses, and lives, human and animal, that could excuse such destruction. One fire, set to cover up a crime is reasonable, though disgusting, but these are all over Australia. And while one person might be a “sick” arsonist, to find 24 to 200 “sick” arsonists, is not even possible. The other thought that makes me so mad I could scream, is that even if this is socially, politically, or religiously motivated, what is the point? What are they trying to prove? All I can say is, that I hope they find the people who did this and that they give them the maximum sentence possible. I don’t know Australian law, so I don’t know if they have the death penalty or not, but I think these people should get it, if they do. And if not, solitary confinement for the rest of their lives might…just might, be punishment enough, but I really doubt it.

My niece, Ashley Parmely married my nephew, Eric Parmely on July 23, 2011. Since then, their happy family has grown to include four children, daughters, Reagan and Hattie were followed by son, Bowen, and most recently, daughter Maeve. These days, having four children is considered a large family, and many people would consider Ashley to be a supermom based solely of the number of children she has. I agree that with larger families, mom’s are supermoms, but coming from a family of five children, I don’t necessarily consider Eric and Ashley’s family to be overly large, and it is not the size of the family that makes me think of Ashley as a supermom.

There are, however, several other things that I think do qualify for supermom status. In years gone by, when people lived on homesteads, mothers juggled things that most of us don’t these days. These days, many mothers work outside the home, and their children spend their days in a daycare facility. Ashley, on the other hand, is stay at home mom, and while that isn’t unheard of either, it is a bit more unusual these days.

That still isn’t what makes me consider Ashley to be a modern day supermom, however. Eric and Ashley have lived in the country almost since they got married. Recently they bought a bigger place, because they wanted to be able to rise more animals. Eric works in the oilfield, and that leaves Ashley and the children they work of taking care of the animals. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t do it alone, because when Eric is home, he works very hard too, but Ashley loves her animals and love spending time with them. And this is where her supermom status comes in. It doesn’t matter if her youngest is too little to leave in the house, or to walk alongside “mommy” either, because Ashley has a backpack. The work must go on, and Ashley loves to do it anyway.

The day might find Ashley, baby on her back, moving hay, feeding animals, or mucking stalls. She has done this with all four babies, so she is a expert at working with the extra weight attached. She gives “baby weight” a whole new meaning. One might think that Ashley would be worn out and tired, and I suppose that at the end of the day, she is, but it never causes her to look tired or grouchy. Instead, all these babies…human and animal…put a smile on the supermom’s face, everyday. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Aleesia Spethman is a bubbly little girl, who loves life. She is going to be in 2nd grade this coming school year. She is the youngest child of her parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, and the youngest grandchild of her grandma, Cheryl Masterson. She is a girl who is full of personality and energy. She is always on the move, doing something…from playing with her big brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, to showing them who the boss is in this family. The boys humor her for the most part, but she gets a lot less “princess treatment” from the youngest of the boys, Isaac, who thinks maybe he is the boss. Aleesia would disagree.

Aleesia and her mom love to do girly things together. Shopping is a big favorite, because they are both fashionistas. Jenny has great fashion sense, and she has passed that to Aleesia, along with how to be in style, and still be yourself. Being the youngest does afford Aleesia some special treatment. She was the last one home all day with her mom, and being the only girl, eliminates the whole “hand-me-down” thing too.

Last week, Aleesia, Jenny, and Aleesia’s Aunt Liz took girl trip to Denver for Aleesia’s birthday. They got to go to the Denver Zoo and Aquarium. They had a great time watching all the animals. Aleesia loves to go to the Science Zone in Casper. The zoo and aquarium are along the same lines too, so it’s right up her alley. She really isn’t afraid of any animals…even bugs, which make me cringe, so she had a great time checking it all out. She takes after her mom in that respect. Jenny has had just about every kind of animal, including an Iguana…which really creeped me out, because it would appear next to you, when you least expected it…usually scaring the daylights out of you.

Most evenings find Aleesia visiting her grandma, and Cheryl is quite happy about that, because this is her last granddaughter, so she wants to make the most of the time she had left before Aleesia decides that she has other things to do. It is inevitable with all kids. Grandparents have them for a time, and then they are pushed out of the way for friends, sports, and after school activities. Aleesia does enjoy her girl nights, and I have had the opportunity to be a part of her girl gang, which has been great. On Thursday nights, Cheryl, Liz, Aleesia, and I go out to dinner, and then to Cheryl’s for a movie. Aleesia and Liz don’t always go for the movie. Liz has papers to grade, or photos to edit, and Aleesia either has homework, or she just missed her family, and wants to go home. She is a bit of a homebody too. Today is Aleesia’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Twenty years ago today, two teenaged gunmen walked into Columbine High School and opened fire, killing 13 people. Yesterday, I watched a news broadcast about the aftermath of those killings. One of the parents, commented on the fact that since Columbine, every time a school shooting occurs, it is compared to Columbine…often stated, “It was a Columbine-like shooting.” Those words had become synonymous with Columbine High School. Like a dark cloud, the stigma of that shooting comes back every time there is another shooting. Twenty years later, the parents and families of the 13 victims of Columbine want to change that…to remove the dark cloud, because if we continue to call shootings Columbine-like…it’s like they win. The grief and pain continue. They do not want their loved ones to always be associated with sadness and defeat. I think that is an amazing idea.

One of the victims, Lauren Townsend loved animals. She volunteered at the local animal shelter, so her parents decided to remember her by setting up the Lauren Townsend Memorial Wildlife Fund. Cassie Bernall’s family started the Cassie Bernall Foundation. Their latest project is The Books for Classrooms program. Steven Curnow was a member of the Cornish American Heritage Society from an early age, and in fact he was their youngest member, so his family set up the Steven Curnow Memorial Foundation in support of the Cornish American Heritage Society. Several of the victims had planned to join the military after high school. They were made honorary veterans. Coach William “Dave” Sanders is credited with saving untold numbers of students as he ran into the cafeteria and told them to flee the building. Then he left to warn other students, sacrificing his own life for others. The softball field at Columbine has been named after him, and a scholarship program was set up in his honor. Each of the people who died that day was filled with promise. They were Rachel Scott, Daniel Rohrbough, Coach Dave Sanders, Kyle Velasquez, Steven Curnow, Cassie Bernall, Isaiah Shoels, Matthew Kechter, Lauren Townsend, John Tomlin, Kelly Fleming, Daniel Mauser, and Corey DePooter. Their families would like them to be remembered for their accomplishments and their dreams, rather than as victims. They would like the school to be remembered as a place of renewal, healing, and mostly of peace. They noted that Columbine means little doves… among other things. I rather prefer the Victorian meaning, which is resolved to win. I think that if the names of the killers are forever forgotten and never mentioned again; and if these lost ones are remembered for their winning spirit, their loving ways, and their kindness to others, then the right side wins.

My nephew, Eric Parmely is a busy man. He is husband to his wife, Ashley, and daddy to his three kids, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen. A while back, Eric and Ashley bought a piece of land west of town, and while they have always been farmers and always had their animals, now have more room to grow their farm and add the animals they want. The kids love having all the space they have at their new place, and they love taking care of their animals. Eric and Ashley stay busy keeping the farm running, and taking the kids to their various activities. If you ask them, they will tell you they are simply living the dream. They really never have wanted anything else but the dream life in the country, surrounded by their kids and a boatload of animals. Now, I’ll grant you that living in the country is peaceful, but having lived there myself, I can’t say that I miss the muddy dirt roads and the long drives to town. It’s just that extra inconvenience that I don’t like much, and I think maybe their dogs agree…at least where the mud is concerned. Odd really, when you consider that most dogs couldn’t care less about mud. Nevertheless, these dogs seem to have a bit of an aversion to it…which strikes me as rather funny.

Eric and Ashley especially love the peaceful days in the country, because lets face it, if you don’t have to go to town, it is really peaceful. They get to enjoy the wildlife, such as sage grouse, deer, and antelope, and they thoroughly enjoy the many visitors to their farm. Lots of birds hang out there, and the lack of traffic noise is nice too. For me, the winter would be the worst, but then I don’t like winter anywhere, so I guess it doesn’t matter. On the farm, and this is one of the things they like most about farm life…you have to go outside everyday, and actually be outside. you can’t take care of the animals from the house. The family has learned to love all kinds of weather, including snow. Eric and Ashley actually have to bribe their kids to come into the house at night. Absolutely amazing!!

Eric, like all of the men in the Schulenberg family, loves to work on cars. If mechanics can possibly be in the blood, that is where it is in these guys. In fact, one might wonder if they don’t have oil in their veins, instead of blood. You never have to wonder where they are, because if they aren’t working on a vehicle, they are at the parts house getting parts for a vehicle. Of course, the great thing about having a mechanic in the family is the lack of vehicle maintenance expense. Mechanic work can get really expensive, and if you have a mechanic in your life, you don’t have to pay someone else to do the work. A great savings for sure, and that is a great blessing…as the women in the Schulenberg family will tell you. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece Ashley Parmely is such a busy person and mom. She takes care of the farm and the animals that she and my nephew, Eric Parmely have, as well as being a great mom to their three children, Reagan, Hattie, and Bowen…not to mention teaching them how to be little farmers too. They all love the outdoors, horses, cows, goats, chickens, and every other animal known to farming. I would say that they love every animal known to man, and they might, but some are simply not the kind of animal you would take care of, unless you are specially trained for jungle animals or something. Eric and Ashley plan to their own grow hay, but for now, they buy it and they stacked 8+ tons of it, resulting in two very tired people, who needed a serious nap. I must say that these two wear me out, and I didn’t move any hay or take care of any animals. They are amazing.

Ashley is a hard working woman. She could outwork many men, and she really just never quits. Even having babies didn’t slow her down. She just loaded up the babies and worked on. Every time I saw those pictures, I found myself thinking, “No way!! How does she do that??” Ashley is a farm mom I guess, but I sure don’t think I could hook a baby to me and keep right on working, but Ashley did and she never skipped a beat. From mucking out stalls to feeding the animals. She just keeps right on going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny!! Ashley has always loved animals, especially horses, so it’s not surprising that she would love to be around horses. She loves riding, caring for, and owning horses. In fact they just got a new horse recently, and that makes her very happy. Ashley has always been a country girl, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ashley has such a great sense of humor. She is always saying or doing something very funny. The looks she gets on her face are just classic funny. Ashley likes making faces, and doing just about anything that will make people smile. Ashley is just such a happy person, that she brings joy to all who know her. We are blessed that she became a part of our family, and continues to be a very special part of it. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the middle child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. Hattie and her siblings are being raised on a little farm outside of Casper, Wyoming. I am amazed at how well Hattie and her siblings get along with the animals in their care. Children are not always careful with animals, but those who are raised around them, have a heart for their animals. Hattie is a soft-hearted girl anyway, and I think her animals know that about her.

Hattie and her siblings have a trampoline, and they love spending time on it. Most of us would just love to have the energy to jump on a trampoline for hours at a time, but lets face it, most of us would get tired after 5 minutes. It is the common problem that adults have when it comes to kids, and their endless energy. Of course, kids get lots of sleep with naps and all, and I don’t know how well Hattie naps, or anything, but if sleep has anything to do with her energy level, I would say she naps or sleeps pretty well.

Having a big sister, Hattie had a helping hand in learning all the cool things to do around their place. Reagan, Hattie’s sister, has taught Hattie and their little brother, Bowen many things about life on the farm. Things like milking the goats, or just playing with the goats, in general. The girls totally love the goats…especially when they are babies, and Bowen is quickly becoming a big help with the animals too.

Life on the farm is not only active, but is usually spent mostly outdoors. We hear about kids today being couch potatoes, but Hattie and her siblings don’t have time for that much. They are always busy doing things out in the yard or with the animals. Cleaning out the pens and feeding the animals are high on the priority list, and they like that very much. Animals depend on their owners to take care of them, and the Parmely kids are great animal owners. Their parents are proud of all the help their kids give them in running the little farm. Hattie is a big part of that, and will be an even bigger part of it as she grows. Today is Hattie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

In most ways, my grand-niece, Zoey Iverson is a typical little girl, who happens to be turning three years old, but in other ways, she certainly is not. Zoey loves to watch crafting videos on YouTube, not a common hobby for most three year olds, but one that is likely less annoying to her parents than some of the cartoons these days. Knowing that Zoey watches You Tube is not really surprising, but her taste in videos really is. It is making me wonder if there is a bit of artist’s blood in her veins. I have great respect for those who can do crafts, and if this little girl is learning how to do these things now, she will be good at it.

Zoey also loves camping with her family, and fishing with her daddy. She and her daddy are really buddies, but don’t think that Zoey doesn’t have a girlie side. Zoey loves to dress up as a princess, and she can never get enough bath time. For anyone who loves a nice warm soak, especially with bubbles, Zoey’s love of a bath makes perfect sense. She also loves to play pretend with her toys, and she is learning her animals.

I think her biggest job, and her greatest accomplishment is helping her brother eat and learn new things. Her brother was born with Down’s Syndrome, and Zoey has taken it upon herself to help him learn as much as she can teach him, because Zoey loves her brother, Lucas very much. He is her hero in many ways, and she is a hero to him too…though she may not realize that. Zoey is a sweet girl with a caring heart and she is a great blessing to her family and all who know her. Zoey is growing up very fast, and in many ways, is already wise beyond her three years. Some kids are like hat, and Zoey, loves to take care of others, especially her big brother. I know that she is going to be a wonder little three year old and a great girl, as she grows up too. Today is Zoey’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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