My grandniece, Katie Balcerzak has been a part of our family, since she married my grandnephew, Keifer Balcerzak in 2015. Together they have two beautiful children, Reece and Aysa Balcerzak. They have been so blessed with two happy, smiling children, who bring more joy to their lives than they could ever have imagined. Reece was born in 2017 and Asa was born in 2021. Now their family is complete. They love doing all the fun activities, like sports and such. Reece is trying different things like t-ball, and while that may not be the sort for her, Katie and Keifer encourage her to give it a shot. They are good parents…always encouraging their kids and each other.
I liked Katie from the first time I met her. We have a few things in common, mostly that we both have sisters, and no brothers. It can make us feel unsure about having boys. While I didn’t have boys, I had three grandsons and only one granddaughter. Katie had a daughter first, and then her son. Either way, for a girl with all sisters, even if she had nephews, having those boys is a bit of a culture shock. Nevertheless, you adapt, and Katie has adapted beautifully. In fact, the love she has for both of her children shows all over her face. It’s just beautiful.
Katie has always been very close to her sisters. The bond they have reminds me of my bond with my sisters. There is something about a family of sisters. Girls think alike. They like the same things, and they like to share their hopes and dreams. The bond between sisters is like a best friend, but much closer. That is the bond Katie has with her sisters, Kellee Schuerman, Martha Simkin, and Bernnie Steadham, have had since they were little girls. Whenever they are together, you can see their love for each other by the smiles on their faces. There is a closeness, comradery, and sisterhood, that is forever. Katie has had the privilege of being a part of a wonderful family, and parents, Vicki Jammerman and Thad Davidson, who taught her and her sisters to be loving, nurturing, and kind people. Their parents taught them good values and it shows in their lives.
When Katie met Keifer, it was love almost immediately. They were young, but they knew that they would become a couple, and grow a family…and that is exactly what they did. They two sweet people were meant to be together. Theirs is a match made in Heaven, and it grows more and more beautiful with each passing day. Today is Katie’s birthday. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Rob Masterson is my first nephew, and he was a bit of a culture shock for me. Up until Rob came along, we were a family of girls. My parents had five daughters, and other than Rob’s dad, Rob Masterson, we still had girls, because we had my nieces, Chantel Balcerzak and Toni Chase…and then came Rob. As we all know…especially all women…men are inherently different. While men can usually mature their way out of it to a degree, little boys…oh boy!! If I had grown up around brothers, I might have been more prepared for my nephew, but I had basically no experience in boys. Even the babysitting jobs I had were girls. Girls were my whole life-experience up to that time. To further complicate things, I had two daughters. Girls were the way of life in the Spencer family. My younger sisters each did have one boy among their multiple girls, so we were further educated in the ways of little boys, and I think it was a good thing that Rob prepared me for boy life, because my girls together had three boys and one girl, and the trend of mostly boys is continuing in the great grandkids too. So, thanks for giving me the education in the ways of little boys, Rob. I think I needed it.
These days, Rob is a great husband and dad. He has three daughters, Christina Masterson, Raelynn Masterson, and Audrianna Masterson, and one son, Matthew Masterson. He and his wife, Dustie Masterson are both supervisors, he at Sam’s Club’s tire and automotive department, and Dustie at Walgreen’s. Life is good, and they are very happy. They have been married now almost 20 years, and each year gets better and better. They love their jobs, their lives, and each other. They are soulmates, and I can’t imagine one without the other.
Being a supervisor is a job with a lot of responsibility. With that, often comes many hours on the job. That makes for not seeing Rob and Dustie very much. In fact, if we want to see them, the best place to do that is at their place of work. Of course, that isn’t the best place for any kind of a real conversation, so mostly we end up waving and saying, “Hello.” It’s ok, because we are family, and we all know we love each other, even if we are usually too busy for a long visit. The main thing really is that they are able to usually make time to go see my sister, Cheryl Masterson, Rob’s mom, because after all, they are her kids, and she needs to be able to see them as often as possible. They are a close family, and they make it work. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My son-in-law, Kevin Petersen is a car fanatic. He loves classic cars, and knows just how to make them shine. From the engine to the paint job, Kevin has the skills. His dad, Dean Petersen gave Kevin his 1966 Mercury Cyclone, and Kevin is slowly restoring it. Unfortunately with his rheumatoid arthritis, he can only work about an hour a day a few days a week. Still, he is getting there. Kevin rents a shop where he stores his car and his son, my grandson, Chris’ Camaro. When Kevin gets his car done, it will be stunning. Kevin has always had nice cars, usually classics. This was something Kevin shared with his boys, Chris and Josh. Its a guy thing. I don’t know many guys who don’t love cars.
As his boys have grown up…Chris is 24 and Josh will be 22 on the 9th of this month…they don’t have as much time to spend with their parents. They still try to help and visit their dad and mom whenever they can, but they work a lot of hours, and Chris has a family too. Of course, that is a blessing in itself. Being a grandpa has been the most wonderful thing too. Kevin has always been all about his family. His granddaughter and soon, new grandson, have him literally bursting with joy. Babies have a way of doing that. Now, as in many families, the grandparents go to visit the grandkids, at least more than the kids get to their house. The work around Chris’ schedule, but they don’t mind. They also like to FaceTime with their granddaughter, who immediately commandeers her parents’ phones to take her grandparents to her room to watch her play. Mostly she’s pretty good about keeping the conversation going, and not just getting absorbed in her play, but even if she does that, they don’t really mind. They love watching her play. She has become a great big part of their world.
Kevin has always had a soft heart, but he is fiercely loyal to his family and will defend them to the end. He is always there to help whenever he can, and he is a great husband and dad. Kevin is an artist. His work is beautiful, and I love that I have been the recipient of some of his work. He has done beautiful stained glass work, paintings, and drawings. Not everyone has that ability, and so it’s awesome that my son-in-law is one that did. His disability has limited the amount of art he can do, but what he does is wonderful. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Dustie Masterson, like most mothers of mostly girls, and one boy, says that her “Bubba,” as she calls her son, Matthew befuddles her quite often with his “boy” ways. While I had two daughters, I had three grandsons and one granddaughter, all of who I was very involved with, so I can totally relate to Dustie’s dilemma with Matt. Dustie’s befuddlement comes from not being raised with a man in the house, so I’m sure that my nephew, her husband, Rob adds to that befuddlement too. He certainly did for me when he was a kid. As to Matt, he loves to “torture” his sisters, Raelynn and Anna, with whom he is the middle child. Boy torture can be enough to make the sisters want to “sell” their brother, as my granddaughter spent years wanting to do with her brother. Matt does torture his sisters, but if anyone outside of their family even thinks about even slightly upsetting the girls…look out!! Matt will take them out…seriously!! When he isn’t “torturing” his sisters, Matt is very into online gaming, and seriously competes with his buddies. He likes it so much, that he asked his Uncle Dave Balcerzak…our family computer guru, to build him a gaming computer. Dave did a great job, and Dustie tells me “That thing is awesome.”
Dustie and Rob really count on Matthew for a lot. The family recently got a kitten named Pita. Pita is very small and got under Rob’s foot while he was getting ready for work. He stepped on her very badly. Rob had to go to work, but Pita needed to get to their vet in Glenrock, it was an emergency. Dustie ran downstairs and woke Matthew up, saying, “We gotta go now.” He didn’t argue, but got right up and they left to make the 20 minute drive. When they arrived, Dustie realized two things. She had forgotten shoes, and Matt, remembering his shoes, forgot his shirt. She borrowed his shoes, and they went in. Matt had held the kitten the entire way, keeping both the kitten and his mom calm, praying and telling his mom that Pita would be ok. By God’s grace Pita lived through the ordeal.
Matt loves to cook. Dustie is going to have to go to Rock Springs to help with another store for a few days, and Matt is going to do all the cooking. He already has the entire menu planned out. Since schools closed because of Covid-19 Matt walks to Dustie’s work just about everyday. The girls at work love seeing him (and so does his mom). Matt loves to experiment with wild hair colors, and the girls at Dustie’s work love to see what color it is now. Dustie says that Matt is very particular about his appearance. He likes the name brands and when we go clothing shopping, while he gets the same amount as the girls for shopping, he always chooses to spend it on a few items. As Matt grow up, he has also become very protective toward his mom. If he thinks something is heavy, he carries it. If she is headed out after dark, he goes with her. He has grown up to be quite like his dad…protective over those he cares about. Dustie is having to fight the urge to always shield him and allow him learn to shield those around him. He is becoming quite a young man. Today is Matt’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Matt!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Steve Moore is such an outdoorsy guy. Every summer he and his wife, my niece, Machelle spend as much time in the Big Horn Mountains as they can. In times past, their boys, Weston and Easton, always went too, but now that they are older, that won’t happen as much. Easton still goes, but Weston works, so he often can’t come along. It is just a part of life. Easton will go less and less as time goes on too.
Part of camping involves gathering firewood, both for the camp, and for home. Steve and Machelle often camp with her parents, Debbie and LJ Cook. The guys always do a lot of wood cutting. Steve and a friend of his, did some trading this year, and Steve came away with a chain saw. He has been having a great time using that saw. I can understand that, because my husband, Bob Schulenberg always loved using his chain saw too. Boys and their toys, you know. Age doesn’t matter. Little boys have their toys, and when they grow up, big boys have their toys too. They are just different kinds of toys.
Normally, the wood haul is used at camp, with the leftovers taken over to Machelle’s parents’ house for their fireplace. Now though, at least since Machelle’s sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Josh Griffith, got them a firepit for Christmas last year, some of the wood goes to Steve and Machelle’s house too. Steve loves having camp wood handy! This past summer, they were able to get more wood, and it didn’t even seem like work with the chain saw. LJ figured they got him about 5½ cords this year…in addition to what they got for themselves. He should have plenty for this winter. It had only taken a few hours of one day, and then they had the rest of the weekend to hike around the mountains. They were even able to find new places to hike!
When Steve and Machelle hike, they like to look for great rocks, which reminds me of my own grandfather LJ said there used to be an old dump around there. It wasn’t a good hunt, some pretty rocks, but not much more. So, they headed back to camp with plans to go back someday soon.
Steve and Machelle may not have their boys on as many camping trips in the future, but they will do ok with that, because they are such soulmates. They have been since they met, and it is so obvious to anyone who knows them. These two are very much in love. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
During World War II, if a man was a conscientious objector, things were…difficult. Things like that were not an automatic get out of the war card. Unless they had some necessary skill that would keep them stateside or in an office, they were signed up as a medic. Most of those men thought that was a good place for them, since the would be saving lives and not taking them, but I’m not sure who got it worse. The infantry or the medics.
The men of the infantry usually considered the conscientious objectors to be cowards. That is not really the way a guy wanted to go into the army, but if they were seriously conscientious objectors, it was a calling they took seriously. It was not, however, an easy job or the easy way out of combat. The difference between the infantrymen and the medics was that during combat, the infantrymen did their best to stay down, so the weren’t hit. The medics, on the other hand, ran into the fire to treat the wounded, and bring in the dead. It was no easy job.
The medics, like most soldiers coming into the army were young men…boys really. They were often 18 or 19 years old. The infantrymen had plenty of names for them. None of them were nice…or complimentary, but the medics that stayed medics…the ones who ran into the fire to care for a wounded soldier were given new names. They were finally called medic…or more often Doc. And they were respected. They were also called hero, brave, courageous, and other respectful names. The medics were not given the $10.00 per month extra that combat soldiers were given. That made the infantrymen furious. They collected money from each other to provide combat pay for their medics. The men refused to have their medics receive less.
World War II saw eleven medics who received the Medal of Honor…as well as other medals. These men were wounded taking care of the men, and they were even killed saving the lives of the men in their care. These men were heroes, just like their counterparts in the infantry, and there isn’t an infantryman that ever fought, who would disagree.
A while back, while looking at historical pictures, I came across one that bore an amazing resemblance to my grandson, Chris Petersen. I realize that a lot of people say that some people remind them of other people, but even my family agreed that this young man looked like Chris at that age. I have no idea who this boy is, or if he is related to Chris, because the picture doesn’t tell his name…just his occupation, which was quite interesting. The boy is, what is known as, a Powder Monkey. I had no idea what that was, and after doing some research on it, I’m thankful that powder monkey is not an occupation we have today, and thankful that my grandson never had the opportunity to be one. To me, it seems like a very dangerous occupation.
Powder boys were used during the 17th century on warships. A powder boy or “powder monkey” manned naval artillery guns as a member of a warship’s crew, primarily during the age of sailboats. His chief role was to carry gunpowder from the powder magazine in the ship’s hold to the artillery guns. Sometimes he carried bulk powder and other times he carried cartridges, to minimize the risk of fires and explosions. The function was usually fulfilled by boy seamen of 12 to 14 years of age. Powder monkeys were selected for the job for their speed and height. They needed to be short so they could not be seen, and could move more easily in the limited space between decks, while remaining hidden behind the ship’s gunwale, thereby keeping them from being shot by enemy ships’ sharp shooters. Some women and older men also worked as powder monkeys. I realize that this might have seemed like a good idea, but as a mom and grandma, I would be terribly worried if that were my boy on one of those ships.
While the Royal Navy first began using the term “powder monkey” in the 17th century, it was later used, and continues to be used in some countries, to signify a skilled technician or engineer who engages in blasting work, such as in the mining or demolition industries. In such industries, a “powder monkey” is also sometimes referred to as a “blaster.” It seems that just about any occupation that carries the name “powder monkey” is a dangerous one. As to the boys who did this work on warships, well…their bravery is amazing. They must have see death around them. They knew the risks. Still, they saw a need, and knew that their contribution would help their country. They were patriots, and as with any soldier, they have my respect. They should never be forgotten, because they were soldiers too…in every way.
My grand niece, Christina Masterson and my granddaughter, Shai Royce were like two peas in a pod as kids. Unfortunately, now that they live far apart, they don’t get to spend much time together. Nevertheless, they pretty much crammed a lifetime of mischief into those young years…like most kids. The things they used to do, while not really bad, were a part of the same shock factor actions of the kids today. I remember Shai being in my car, and suddenly yelling out the window at someone on the street, “Hi!!” After they looked at her, and me like we were crazy, she told me that she and Christina do that all the time. In my day, we didn’t want to look like the nut case in town, but apparently in their day, it was the cool thing to do. I guess I should be thankful that they were not the boys with their jeans around their knees. When I was a kid, it was the kids who didn’t want to be seen with the parents because they “might” do something embarrassing. So, now I guess it’s the in thing to be embarrassing, but I can promise you that, if I did that from their car, they would be quick to tell me in a shocked voice, “Grandma/Aunt Caryn, what are you doing?? Shhhhhh!!!” Apparently, I’ll never be back in the cool generation…sigh!!
Christina and Shai were born just 5 days apart, and they were among 6 of my parent’s grandchildren born over a three year period…all the rest of those grandkids were boys. I guess the girls would have to stick together. They would try to hide out away from the boys, but you know how little boys are. They did their very best to torment the girls. That of course resulted in much screaming from the girls. They could make it sound like mass murder, when it was simply that the boys were in the same room…or the same universe for that matter. And telling them to ignore them, you received a look like, “what does that even mean?” They just thought it was their right to ask for the removal of the offending boy, preferably to a different family. Of course, the main tormenter cousin was my grandson, Caalab Royce…Shai’s brother. That made matters far worse. Not only was he wanting to play, but Shai was around him all the time, so the screaming was more like howling!!! Caalab was always a true teaser, and the girls were his favorite target. I can’t tell you how many times Shai told me she wanted to have he adopted…by any other family in the world!! Thankfully, the three of them are the best of friends these days…who would have thought.
A number of years ago, Christina moved to Colorado to live with her mom, and finished growing up there. I have to admit that while the drama of those prior years drove me and their moms crazy, I missed it too. Christina graduated from high school, and went on to study dental hygiene. When she was done with school she got a place of her own, and in true Drama Queen Fashion, she has decorated her apartment with all the girlie, drama queen things. I don’t know about the rest of the apartment, but Christina has a pink living room, and I have to admit, drama queen or not, I think its really cute!! Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Toni Chase has become a world traveler since her marriage to Dave. She and Dave love going places. Whether it’s Hawaii, or the Caribbean, they spend as much time traveling as they can. They decided to get a time share, and while most people who have a time share, end up selling it because they don’t really use it, that is not the case with Toni and Dave. They love theirs and they use it often. They just pick a date, and look and the available sites, and register for their dates. If a person thinks they like to travel, but really isn’t sure, time shares are probably not the best thing to have, but for Toni and Dave, it was perfect, and they use it a lot. in fact, they went to Mexico in June.
For Toni, family comes first. Her boys are the most important part of her life. She had a son, James Renville from her first marriage, and while Dave loves James, and is a big part of his life, he would never try to replace James’ real dad. I think it is the respect shown on both sides of that split, that has made it a very good relationship for all of them. Of course, a good relationship between blended families is only possible if everyone works together, and for this group the respect, cooperation, and a genuine love for James. And isn’t that really what good parents do…the best thing for the kids.
This has been an interesting year for Toni. Dave has spent much of his time playing softball and basketball, and apparently that’s a little hard on Toni. I don’t know if it was heavy duty cheering, or what, but Toni ended up having hernia surgery. During the surgery, they found that the appendix was caught in the hernia, and it had to be removed too. It wasn’t Dave’s sports that caused Toni’s need for surgery, but Toni is a great cheerleader when it come to the sports and activities of her boys. I think she pretty much likes anything they are doing. Of course when it comes to what Toni is doing, Dave like most husbands, Dave couldn’t tell you what she has been up to. Toni has recently become interested in Wyoming history. Maybe she is a chip off of her Aunt Caryn’s block. She says that it’s very addictive. I agree. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Machelle Moore is a sweet, sometimes quiet girl who spends her life surrounded by boys. She is married to the oldest boy, Steve Moore, and together, they have sons Weston and Easton. For someone who only had sisters, and I can relate, because I was the same way, being a part of a family of men is…a culture shock. Moms of boys who came from a house full of girls should maybe belong to a big club of other girls just like them. Boys are…different from girls in every possible way, and they don’t care if what they are doing is polite or not. It’s a guy thing, and their mom will just have to deal with it, because those boys will never change. In reality, I think it is the moms/grandmas who went from an all girl family to an all boy family, who do all the changing. Once the initial shock wears off, you realize that while this little man can be…embarrassing at times, he can also be a great joy, and after a while, it just doesn’t phase you anymore. They do something you find embarrassing, and you just roll your eyes, because that is just how boys are, and nothing you do is going to change them one bit.
It’s a good thing that Machelle loves the outdoors, because with three boys in the house, there will be things like camping, and in the case of her husband, Steve, rock hunting. That is always fun in my opinion, but then I grew up hearing all about going rock hunting, and have collected plenty of them in my day. Not all girls like that sort of thing though. Of course, when your man turns them into beautiful things, like Machelle’s husband does, it’s hard not to get enthusiastic about the rocks you find. They take the boys camping too, and I’m sure that when they were little, they brought home the usual menagerie of frogs, toads, snakes, and bugs that every mom of boys finds herself oohing and aahing over while trying not to eeewww too much, because lets face it, those little boys would know an eeewww over an aah in a minute, but then most of them know that you don’t much like snakes, bugs. or frogs.
Being the only girl in a house full of boys is interesting…to say the least, as with a house full of girls, it is also very rewarding too. Your kids are always a blessing, and while they can be gross and embarrassing at times, they make up for it completely every time they give you a big kiss or a hug. That sort of thing just melts your heart, and those boys know just how to make their mom feel loved and special. That’s because moms are big softies when it comes to their kids, and Machelle is no different. We love our kids…boys or girls, and they know just hoe to wiggle their way into our hearts. Today is Machelle’s birthday. I’m sure her house full of boys will make it very special. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!