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New babies are always so much fun for a family to receive. They bring so much joy to the family. Recently, our family was blessed with a new addition when my grand niece, Katy Balcerzak and her partner, Dylan Herr had an adorable baby boy named Max Robert Herr. Max was born on June 14, 2020, at 5:41pm after a 17 hour labor that ended in a rather dangerous and terrifying delivery proceeded by 3½ hours of pushing. During the delivery, Katy spiked a high temperature, and little Max’s heart rate slowed, but the Lord took care of them, and they came through with flying colors. We are very thankful for the happy ending of that labor that brought them their sweet Max, who weighed in at 8 pounds 14 0.ounces, and was 21¼ inches long.

While Max made a dramatic entrance into the world, his life since then has been much more relaxed. He is a sweet, easy going baby, who is very mellow and loves to be held…preferably all the time. Right now, he loves to sleep…so much so, that his parents have to wake him up to eat most of the time. Max loves his daddy very much, but at this point, he is a mama’s boy who calms right down when Katy picks him up. He loves his mommy’s voice, and their bond is one that comes from spending nine months connecting to each other. Such a sweet bond, between mother and son.

Max is been receiving visitors from time to time. Dylan’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law have come by to meet him and get a few cuddles. And Katy’s mom is visiting right now, and Katy says she is the “Baby Whisperer.” Grandma’s do have a knack when it comes to their grandbabies. Most of Katy’s family live in Casper Wyoming, so many of us have not had a chance to meet little Max yet, but we are all looking forward to meeting him very soon. They are planning a visit to Casper over the 4th of July. In the meantime, we are very much enjoying all the pictures that Katy and Dylan are sharing with us. Max, for his part, is taking everything in stride. He had decided that he is a happy, social baby, dazzling his visitors with cuddles and smiles, and everyone loves it. Welcome to the world Max Robert Herr!! We love you already!!

My great grand nephew, Jaxx Harman is the youngest on my grand nephew Jake Harman and his wife Melanie’s three children. Jaxx is their only son, and having two older sisters can be awesome, or it can be a fight. Thankfully for Jaxx, he has great sisters. While there are those minor disagreements that all siblings have, they are pretty great to have around. For most of his life, his older sisters have been showing him the ropes of life, but Jaxx is getting to be a big boy now, and his own attitude is starting to present itself into the family picture. A boy with two older sisters has to get a handle on things before he gets too old, or they girls will push him around.

Jaxx can’t have that. At the grown up age of three, he has to start asserting himself…or at least that’s what he has decided. Jaxx is all boy, and like many boys, he loves to wrestle, fight, and in general, be ornery. According to his mom is a little monkey. I can totally picture that too. From jumping on the bed…when Mommy isn’t looking, to climbing on every thing he can think of. It’s every “boy-mom’s” stressor. Still, when Jaxx looks at his mommy, her heart just melts too, because he is, after all, her boy and she loves him!! While Jaxx is ornery, he still is just so sweet too. It’s all part of his charm.

Jaxx loves his sisters, but he is the brother, and brothers must tease sisters. I think that is an unspoken rule!! His favorite argument with his sisters is, “Who is Daddy’s Favorite!!” Of course, his daddy loves each of his children equally, but it’s a fun argument to have, and Jaxx is just figuring that out. Jaxx may be the youngest child, but he can still give his sisters a “run for their money” when it comes to a fight. His sister Izabella fights and wrestles back, but his oldest sister, Alice takes it pretty easy on him. I’m sure she worries about hurting him. That could change as he gets older, and bigger.

Jaxx is learning about manners and etiquette. He is very careful to follow some basic rules. If someone sneezes, Jaxx is quick to say, “Bless you.” He is learning things like please, thank you, and excuse me too. One of the very sweetest aspects of his personality, is that Jaxx loves to pray at bedtime and before eating. His little spirit loves God so much, and he wants to know more about Him. His parents are active in their church, and Jaxx wants to be just like them. He has good role models to follow after all. Today is Jaxx’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Bowen Parmely is the only son of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife Ashley. Being the only boy, with three sisters can be a bit daunting sometimes I’m sure, but Bowen is very loved by his sisters. Having only sisters myself, I know how overwhelming girls can be. We all have our own ideas about how things should go, and an easy going little boy could get pushed around by so many girls.

Life on the farm is wonderful for Bowen. He loves the animals they raise, and really can’t think of anywhere he would rather be. I think his favorite place on the farm is seated on the back of a horse, preferably eating his popsicle. Of course, he is just as happy holding he kitty or playing with the dogs the family has. For most little boys, living on a farm with lots of animals, and plenty of hiding places in the hay required to feed the animals would be the life. Of course, having two of his sisters be older than he is, makes the many fun games they play together possible. There is a lot to be said for the imagination of big sisters. Sometimes I wonder, however, how often Bowen find himself playing games that seem a bit girly to him, and thinking, “Boy, oh boy, I would love to have a friend to play with that is a boy, who would play the kind of games I want to.” Maybe not, but it seems logical to me. Boys are wired differently, and we girls just don’t think the same way most of the time. The good news is that Bowens parents are not prissy people, and neither are the girls, so things are “all good” for the most part.

The family loves to get out and go hiking, skiing, and riding their bicycles…all things that most boys love to do, and Bowen is no exception. He is totally in his element outside. It doesn’t matter if its playing in the dirt or mud, running with the dogs, riding the horses, or riding his bicycle, Bowen is an active boy with lots of energy. He is, after all, his daddy’s boy, and wants nothing more than to be just like his dad. What boy doesn’t, really? Still, he loves his mommy, and is a great joy for her…as he is for everyone who knows him. Bowen having a little sister has made him sensitive to the needs of the little ones too. At Christmas, when our whole family got together, I watched as he pushed my great granddaughter around in a stroller, the two of them having a fabulous time. He didn’t even expect her to push him, probably because she is younger, but rather, he was just happy to make her smile, and she in turn loved playing with her cousin. I could see that Bowen has a heart for these girls, older or younger. I think that will make him a very wonderful gentleman when he grows up, and really, makes him quite the little gentleman right now. Today is Bowen’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

In many ways, my nephew, Tucker Birky is a typical eleven year old boy. He loves to do all the goofy things that make those who know him laugh hysterically. There is almost nothing that is off limits when it comes to ways to make people laugh. He might eat candy in such a way as to make green lips, and the grin impishly. Hi might put something funny on, like funny glasses, a wrapping paper hat, or just a funny face, Tucker is up for it. It’s all about getting the laugh from his audience. That is Tucker…and that’s what makes everybody love Tucker. He is always happy and smiling. He does like looking good, and recently discovered what a difference a haircut can make in a guys appearance.

While Tucker is a funny guy, when it comes to his studies, he is all business. Tucker reads at the ninth grade level, even though he is only in 5th grade. Tucker is also top of his class of 30 students in piano. Tucker isn’t into sports much, but would rather play Fortnight on his Xbox, play with his dogs, or help his dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg with things in the garage or doing the chores. He likes splitting wood, and helps his mom, my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg with chores too, but my guess is that he doesn’t like those as much as the ones that ate “man’s work” chores. Tucker is a candy-holic, and if they would let him, his favorite breakfast would be…you guessed it, candy. It doesn’t matter that he has braces now, if he thinks he can get away with it, he will eat candy.

Tucker has recently decided that he likes listening to music, and sometimes likes to have it turned up very loud in the car, with all the windows down. I’m not sure what the purpose of the windows being down is, but maybe so he can share his tunes with anyone in the general vicinity. Tucker loves his mom, and is learning to cook. It is something they can do together. While Tucker might not be the biggest kid in his class, he has a heart that can rival any one of them. Today is Tucker’s 11th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Jaxx Harman is a sweet, good natured little boy who is very patient with his older sisters, who love to “mother” him. Having two older sisters can be a difficult thing for a little boy, but not Jaxx. He loves his sisters, and really wants to go play with them. He can’t walk yet, so he is limited as to what he can do, but he crawls, and I can tell you from my own experience, that many babies can crawl much faster than their older siblings. Of course, they can run, so that gets them ahead of the ones who crawl, but Jaxx’s sisters, Alice and Izabella, love their little brother too, and they try to keep him in the loop with their activities. It won’t be long before Jaxx is right up there walking and running with his sisters. He is already able to stand against furniture, provided that someone gets him up to the furniture, so it won’t be long before he figures all of it out for himself, and then…look out…here comes Jaxx!!

Jaxx has definitely found his voice, and his funny bone. He laughs often, as well as plenty of squeals and hollers. And he has an adorably cute cheesy smile that is totally contagious. He definitely keeps his family entertained with all his antics. He is very lovable, and loves life. Jaxx is all boy, however, and I’m sure that it won’t be long before his sisters’ toys become to girly for him. Nevertheless, he will probably play their games with them anyway, because he is an easygoing sort of guy. When it comes to food, Jaxx is ready to eat…anything that is put in front of him. He isn’t a picky eater at all, but he especially loves his strawberry milk. That takes me back to my young life, and I think, most kids. Flavored milk is where it’s at. I loved chocolate and strawberry milk, but then, I loved milk…period. As for Jaxx, strawberry milk is his go to flavor, and he will drink as much of it as his mommy will let him. And I think that with his sweet smile,his mommy and daddy, Melanie and Jake Harman are hard pressed to keep from giving in to this sweet little boy. Today is Jaxx’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday sweet Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Ethan Hadlock is a sweet boy. He is always ready to hand out the hugs to all the people he cares about. Ethan is the oldest of my sister, Allyn and her husband, Chris Hadlock’s grandchildren, and the only boy, so he is pretty protective of his little girl cousins, Adelaide Sawdon and McKenzie Moore, and his sister, Aurora Hadlock. It’s what being the boy in the family is all about. Ethan has a soft heart and it shows in everything he does. Ethan turned 9 years old today. I have a really hard time thinking that he could possibly be 9 years old already. He is a good student and works really hard in his classes. He is a really great reader, and he has been known to practice his reading on his little sister, so as he practiced, and she got to hear the story. She is learning to read too now, so I don’t suppose he has to read to her much these days. Ethan is such a kind boy that he won the Kindness Award at his school.

Ethan has lofty goals for a boy in the 3rd grade. He has decided that he wants to be a Marine, so he can kill bad guys. I never would have expected the Marines, but his desire to fight crime and terrorism is not surprising, because Ethan’s grandpa, Chris Hadlock is a retired Casper Police Department Lieutenant, and his uncle, Jason Sawdon is a Wyoming Highway Patrol Officer. Both of them are decorated, and I know that Ethan is very proud of them. After his time in the Marines, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ethan become a cop in some branch of law enforcement. Sometimes this kind of thing runs in families, and it almost like it is in their blood.

Of course, Ethan doesn’t spend all his time working toward becoming a Marine. He does have to spend some time being a kid. Ethan, like many kids, likes video games, and his favorite is Minecraft. For those, like me, who had no idea what the game is all about, it is a game about digging (mine) and building (craft). Basically you build buildings, so similar to construction. Maybe Ethan will become an architect. I think he would be good at that too. Ethan is really a kid with a wide variety of interests. I suppose that comes from being such a good student. He has taken the time to broaden his horizons, so to speak.

Ethan has a great sense of humor, and loves to pick on his Great Aunt Caryn, by flipping my long hair on top of my head from time to time, and then pretending that it wasn’t him. When I can’t catch him at it, he just laughs and laughs. I’m quite sure that he uses his teasing prowess on his aunts, uncles, and grandparents too, if I know him. In all, Ethan is probably a normal 9 year old, but in many ways I think he is pretty exceptional. Today is Ethan’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Whether we like it or not, all little boys, and girls too, grow up way too fast. My nephew, Riley Birky is no exception. As a little boy, Riley loved to give hugs…especially to his mama. My sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg tells me that he is still the best hugger she knows. You know the kind…they squeeze you tightly and their love for you just flows out of them and into your heart. Funny thing about those good huggers is that they never seem to get tired of hugging those they love…not even during the awkward teenaged years, when many kids are embarrassed by their parents, because they just aren’t cool. It isn’t that their parents aren’t cool…at home. It’s just that when they are with their friends…well, parents can say stuff that is just not cool…like I love you, or something. Of course, you want them to love you, just please don’t say it in front of the guys. Nevertheless, Riley was a boy who loved his mama, and he didn’t mind letting her know it.

Younger siblings can be a different kind of problem They always want to hang around, and they can be so nerdy. A cool guy can’t have his kid brother hanging around…or can he. Riley loves playing with his little brother, Tucker. He doesn’t seem to mind if Tucker is acting goofy, because…well, that’s just Tucker, and that’s ok. Riley feels very blessed to have a little brother, and they spend time together as much as possible. As a little boy, there were four things Riley loved, his mama, his little brother, his big sister, Cassie, and his bear, Fluffy. Family, you never outgrow, but toys are a different thing. Still, some toys are extra special, and you tend to keep them for life. Fluffy was just such a toy. He was like a best friend, who never left your side. While Riley doesn’t still play with Fluffy, he does still have Fluffy and probably always will. Who knows, maybe someday Fluffy can be handed down to Riley’s own child.

Riley loves playing football, and really everything about football, which is very common for boys. Sports becomes their way of life pretty early on in life. With the schools offering the opportunity and all their friends playing, it is just the natural thing for kids to do. Riley doesn’t really care about the other sports much, and other than football, would rather ride his bicycle. Like most boys, I’m sure he can do a number of tricks on his bicycle…and if not, I’ll bet that at the very least, he can pop wheelies, because I think every boy tries that one. And last, but certainly not least…there is Lilly. Lilly is the family dog, and she absolutely loves Riley, and he absolutely loves her too. Whenever Riley is at home, Lilly is by his side. Riley has such a loving, gentle way with Lilly. Dogs can just tell when they are loved, and when they are loved, they love back, with their whole being. Lilly would do anything to protect Riley, and Riley would do the same. This dog truly is this man’s best friend. Today is Riley’s 17th birthday. The little boy is gone, and in his place stands a young man with a very bright future ahead of him. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Topher Spicer is a sweet boy, who is a great surrogate big brother to his mother, Andrea Beach’s friend, Nikki Vigil’s son, Marcus. They are both an only child, so their friendship is very important to them. He also has some best friends, Elias and Ethan, that he really enjoys hanging out with. His mom has taught him to play Uno, and of course he plays video games. Summertime is a great time to go swimming, and Topher goes just about every day.

Since Topher’s uncle, Allen Beach was stationed in Japan for part of his time as a corpsman in the Navy, Topher has become interested in Japanese culture. I don’t know if Topher is considering joining the Navy, or not, but if he did, he would follow in a line of Navy men in his family. Whether or not he is in the navy, Topher like some of the culture, and most likely the buildings and such.

Topher loves animals, and I’m sure that he hopes to have a pet some day. When he was visiting his great grandma, my mom, Collene Spencer, her cat was totally taken with him. That was an amazing thing, because Lewie, the cat, doesn’t like to be around most kids, but was totally content to sit beside Topher, and watch what he was doing…no matter what it was. I can understand that, because Topher is a child who is not overly rambunctious. He is content to sit and play a video game, and Lewie felt comfortable with him.

This past week, while my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Caryl Reed, and I were on a trip to Washington, Topher spent quite a bit of time with his grandpa, Mike Reed, while his mom had to work. They were just two men, batching it together, and supposedly waiting for Caryl to get back home again. I’m sure they missed her, but guy time is fun for them too. Sometimes having a guys week can really be a lot of fun, so I know that they had a great time. Whenever two guys get together and do all the things that only guys would appreciate, it’s a good time. I suppose you would have to be a guy to understand the guy things. Today is Topher’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For my nephew, Eric Parmely, married life has mostly been about being outnumbered by girls…at least since he and his wife, Ashley started having children. Don’t get me wrong here…Eric wanted girls. He came from a family with three boys, and he was the youngest. He had always wanted to have a daughter, and really never expected to have one. Let’s face it, in a family of all boys, having a girl is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Eric and Ashley beat the odds and had not only one daughter, Reagan, but were blessed with a second daughter, Hattie.

Eric and Ashley had purchased a house in the country, next door to her parents. They wanted the country life, and with her parents horses, they knew that they would be able to give their children the kind of life they wanted for them. Living in the country and having animals, is something they are all interested in. The girls don’t care that farming and caring for animals is a “dirty” job, because they love their animals. They get right out there and help their Daddy and Mommy with whatever they are doing on the farm.

Eric’s life is full and happy, but now…if it is possible, his life is going to get even more full. They are now expecting a little boy to join their family in the near future. While Eric and now his little boy will still be outnumbered by the girls in the family, they can at least say that they have each other when outnumbering becomes an issue. Although, when in coms to getting into the bathroom when teenaged girls are in there…all bets are off. It’s going to be fun to watch the transition from all girls to a boy in the family, and I know that they many stages that are to come will be lots of fun for both Eric and Ashley. And after all, it’s all about building a life. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Growing up, I didn’t have any brothers, and in fact, other than my dad, there weren’t any guys in the family at all until my sister, Cheryl got married, and they lived most of those early years in upstate New York. I wasn’t around him much. So, I never had a little brother until I married my husband, Bob Schulenberg, and his little 7 year old brother, Ron Schulenberg became my brother-in-law. Bob, Ron, and I got along well even during the time we were dating, and he often went places with us…a privilege he found quite acceptable. He was a good kid, and we enjoyed being around him. When I think about the fact that Ron has been my brother-in-law for almost 42 years now, I just can’t imagine life without him. I never really felt deprived of a brother, but then I never thought of Ron as a brother-in-law either. He was my little brother…from the time I first met him. I think it was a good thing Ron and I got along so well, because he and Bob have always been close. They were the only boys in a family of six kids, so banding together was kind of a necessity, and over the years they have always been able to count on each other for any help needed, and just to be friends too. These days, their age difference doesn’t seem like much, but there are almost 14 years between them. Back then, I suppose it was odd for Bob to hang out with his little brother, but for the most part Bob enjoyed having Ron around.

Some things were a little hard for Ron, and I felt kind of bad about that. Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg, worked so well together at fixing things up on the place, fixing the cars, and even building the garage, and because of his age, Ron always seemed to be in the way. He wanted to help too…so badly. It’s hard, in the middle of something you need to get done, to stop and teach a little 7 or 8 year old boy how he can be of some help. Of course, as time went on, Ron grew up and he became a great help to his dad and brother. I’m sure that to him, it felt like he had “finally arrived.” That was a big day for Ron. I don’t know if he ever regretted that day, because once you can help, you have fewer days to play, but then, I don’t thing Ron cared about that at all.

I think that for Ron, the role of parent is the one he has always wanted the most…besides husband, of course. After he married his wife Rachel, Ron became dad to her children, Cassie, Riley, and Tucker. Cassie is married, and Riley lives in Powell, but Tucker is at home, and as far as he is concerned, Ron is his only daddy. He is the man who is there for him. Ron is the role model that Tucker wants and needs. They are a great little team, and I am so happy for Ron, because this has made his life complete. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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