daddy

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My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg has been through a number of big changes over the past year, not the least of which is a name change. This past summer found Tucker’s dream coming true, when his dad, Ron Schulenberg officially adopted him. It is something Tucker had wanted almost since the day his mom, Rachel Schulenberg married his new dad. They are best buddies. Tucker has looked up to Ron for years now, and carrying his name is the ultimate honor for both of them. We are all very happy for them all, because we have all wanted this as well. Now, Ron and Tucker work together and play together. Ron is a great role model for Tucker, and he is very, very proud of his son.

Tucker is in his first year of middle school now, and with that change has come some other changes…some his mother is almost dreading. The biggest “dread” for Rachel is girls!! Nevertheless, try as she might to avoid it, Tucker is a bit of a chick magnet. So far this year, Tucker has had four girlfriends. I guess that his love of girls is definitely in the early stages…nothing serious for Rachel to worry about. Tucker is a complex kind of guy, and that might be what attracts him to the girls. He is well liked at school, for several reasons. Tucker likes to share the wealth, so to speak. He shares gum…by the 6 pound bags…with the kids at school. It’s not just the gum that makes the kids all like him, however. Tucker hates bullying, and will not tolerate it, against himself or others. He stops it in its tracks. While Tucker isn’t one to pick a fight, he will fight it it’s necessary to stop bullying. That is something that makes us all very proud.

Tucker likes LEGOs, YouTube, comics, the outdoors, shooting targets, and his dog. His varied interests, and his friendly nature, make him fit in everywhere. While his new interests make all the kids at school like him, Tucker still loves his daddy the best. They will always be best friends. Tucker is growing up fast, and I find myself amazed at how big he has grown. Where have all the years gone. It seems like just yesterday that Tucker was the almost 3 year old son of my brother-in-law’s new wife, but that was 9 years ago. Today is Tucker’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Shannon Moore has had an interesting year. Shannon had been the special teams coach for Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, but at the end of last year, he accepted a position at the University Of Wyoming as their new assistant coach. He is also their tight ends coach and helps with special teams too. The really cool thing about that is that it puts them back in Wyoming, which is where my niece and his wife, Lindsay Moore was born and when her family all live. My sister and brother-in-law, and Lindsay’s parents, Allyn and Chris Hadlock have really missed being able to be closer to Lindsay and Shannon, especially since their daughter, Mackenzie was born on September 13, 2017. They are a close-knit family, and it was hard not being able to get to know Mackenzie better. Nevertheless, it was the best thing for Shannon and his little family at the time. Shannon’s coaching jobs have taken the family to several places, and each move was to a better position, so that was wonderful.

Since becoming “Daddy” to Mackenzie, Shannon is a new man. His daughter is the apple of his eye, and the fulfillment of his dreams!! They have such a wonderful bond. Mackenzie loves her daddy so much. Shannon is a great dad, so patient and loving! He loves to dote on her and play with her! He doesn’t care if she wants to play girly games, he is all in, and Mackenzie is her daddy’s littlest…in size only…cheerleader. She goes with her mommy to every game they can, and she knows to drill, “Put on your game face!!” Mackenzie is all about her daddy! She calls him and screams with delight when he answers. She waits for him to come home from work and when he comes in the door, she repeatedly screams, “Daddy!” Shannon is on cloud nine every time he hears his girl calling to him.

Lindsay and Shannon are very athletic, being back in Wyoming gives them the opportunity to do some hiking and exploring of the area. Of course, other than his family, football is Shannon’s passion, and he is always ready for the next season to begin…whether its his team, or the pros, Shannon loves the game. In fact, had it not been for football, Lindsay and Shannon might not have met. It was at a Wyoming Cavalry indoor football game that they first laid eyes on each other, and the rest…as they say, is history. They were perfect for each other and everyone could see it…right from the start. Now, they have come full circle, landing back in Wyoming again…where it all started, and we are all very happy about that. Today is Shannon’s birthday, Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Chris Iverson is a man who largely thinks like me. We agree on so many points, from politics to leisure time. I always like to talk to a person with a logical mind, and that is exactly what Chris has. At the risk of upsetting the “please no more politics” people among my readers, I must say that Chris is a conservative, with a level head, who isn’t fooled by the Liberal media. That can be refreshing when so many of the people you hear from around you are the polar opposite of that. Chris understands that the liberal politicians ideas simply will not work, and will break this nation. Chris gets that.

Nevertheless, that is not all Chris is about. A daddy of two children, Chris, along with his wife, Cassie, takes a hands on approach to parenting. Their son, Lucas needs extra help, because he was born with Down’s Syndrome, but that has never stopped Chris and Cassie from helping Lucas to be the best person he can be…even if that happens to be Batman. They are hands on with his needs, and work hard to help him perform as normally as possible. Their daughter, Zoey also helps her big brother to learn new things. She is one of his biggest fans.

Chris makes sure that his children get to spend as much time as possible with family, knowing that some of those grandparents and great grandparents may not be around for much longer. Taking the kids for visits is a great way to let them get to know their family, especially when they don’t all live in the same town. Much of the family also loves to go camping, so they get to see them there too.

The family loves the outdoors, and Chris gets them outside as much as possible. Chris loves to hike, camp, and fish, and he is teaching his children to love those things too. Of course, living in Powell, Wyoming, they have a more limited season to do some of the outdoor things they like, but whenever possible, they are out there enjoying nature. I think that Chris’ outdoor lifestyle is a great way to raise the kids, and keep them strong with exercise, something which is very important for Lucas, for whom these things don’t always come easy. Chris and Cassie are great parents, and their children are very blessed to have them. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As long has there have been road trips with children, there have been bored children, asking, “When do we get there?” They don’t understand that one of the best parts of a road trip is the time spent on the road. The destination is the end of the adventure, not necessarily the adventure itself. Invariably, after the ten time that those precious little ones ask that dreaded question, tempers begin to flare. These days, cars come with built in DVD players to occupy the kids on the road trip, but back when I was a kid, those things didn’t exist.

Somewhere along the way, someone…probably a frustrated parent…came up with the idea of allowing the kids to participate in the trip by giving them a steering wheel of their own, so they could help their parents drive. I do know that in January of 1955, a man named Jack Fletcher of West Covina, California installed a plastic windshield and three miniature steering wheels in the back seat of his car to entertain his children, Janie, Johnny and Ricky, who were 3 years, 21 months, and 21 months respectively. Apparently, it was a good idea, at least for those children, because, the idea has hung around ever since. In fact, for Christmas, we got our great granddaughter a version that can sit on the floor in front of her, or even on her highchair tray. Now she can “help” her daddy drive too. As children get older, I’m sure that the novelty of a steering wheel wore off, but if you got a year or so of peace in the car, it’s worth the effort.

Of course, when I was a kid, there were mo car seats, and it wasn’t illegal to drive with your child on your lap. Many a child, me and my sisters included, learned to steer the car while seated on our daddy’s lap. It was great fun, and a memory we will always have. I suppose that today’s drivers, police officers, and child safety advocates would cringe at the thought of a child on the lap of the driver, and maybe it wasn’t the safest way to do things, but I don’t recall hearing about dozens of children dying in that manner either, so maybe the parents of yesteryear weren’t so careless after all. All I know, is that we had a great time on those road trips.

My great grand niece, Izabella Siara Harman is quite a girl. She is the middle of her parents, Jake and Melanie Harman’s children, and quite the feisty one. Her grandmother, my niece, Chantel Balcerzak says she got her sassy attitude from her. Maybe that’s so, but Belle, as she is often called wears her sassiness well, and I think she is a total sweetie. If it’s possible, she wears her sassiness well.

Being just three years old, Belle is very curious about many things. She is still discovering the world around her, but she is beginning to be very aware of the things she likes and the things she doesn’t. She is developing her own personal style, and this girl is a girly girl. One of the things little Belle absolutely loves is lip balm…any version…tinted or just chapstick. I can’t blame her. I like the feel of lip balm too,so I can see why she would. Plus, I’m sure it makes her feel pretty.

Another thing that Belle has discovered and really has become pretty obsessed with is pockets. She wants pockets on her clothes, and she likes them on other people’s clothes. It could be because she knows that there are often cool things in those pockets, especially lip balm, or she likes being able to keep her own treasures in her pockets. Its funny what things kids decide that they really like. Well, this Belle’s things are lip balm and pockets.

The other day, Belle wanted her dad’s chap stick, so he took it out of his pocket and gave it to her. Belle put some chap stick on, and after putting the lid back on, Belle promptly tucked it into the only pocket she had…or thought she had…her pull-up. She used it just like it was a pocket. After the moment of shock, her dad laughed and said, “Well that’s one chap stick I won’t be using again!!” Hahahahaha!! I don’t suppose he would either. What a goofy girl she is. I guess in the future, her parents are going to have to make sure that every outfit has a pocket, just in case she borrows a chap stick again.

Well, little Belle will probably get over the lip balm and pocket stage at some point, but I seriously doubt if she will ever get over being the little cutie she is, because that is totally impossible. I love the excitement she shows every time I see her and her siblings. She always makes me smile. Today is Belle’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Belle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Nick Olsen became my grandnephew when he married my grandniece, Siara this past summer. Nick is perfect for Siara. They love to laugh, and they are always doing funny things. Nick loves to make people laugh, and he has a funny, sarcastic way to do just that. That is something I like. I find comedic sarcasm to be extremely fun, and I like when people are able to laugh at themselves. That describes Nick perfectly. He’s usually up for whatever goofy things Siara wants to do. I think his joking ways were probably in large part one of the things that attracted Siara to him in the first place.

Nick is a hard working man, who takes good care of his wife, and will someday make a great dad, I’m sure. He came from a big family, with 6 siblings, and he loves his mom very much. I’m sure he will want to have his own family. Nick and Siara already have two fur babies, Forest and Emma…their cats. Siara tells me that Nick is obsessed with Emma, and she’s not too sure he doesn’t love the cat more than he does her, but I don’t think so. Nick can fix just about anything, and so he keeps things in their house in good repair. He also likes to “surprise” Siara with a very clean house when she gets home from work. Now that makes him a pretty rare sort of a guy, and a keeper for sure.

Nick and Siara’s dad, Dave Balcerzak have bonded quite well over sports, as well as everything else. They really enjoy getting together to watch the football games. Nick’s favorite team is the Seahawks, but Siara and Dave’s is the Steelers. I’m not sure how that works while watching the games, but they seem to be able to deal with their differences, and the games they spend time watching together are mutually fun for everyone…unless the two teams are playing against each other, that is…then it’s probably war!! Even if they were playing against each other, I’m sure that there would be some good natured ribbing, especially from the winner, but they would still be good friends, and that’s great, because Siara loves her daddy and her hubby, and she loves that they get along so well. Today is Nick’s birthday. Happy birthday Nick!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For my nephew, Shannon, Moore, life has taken some big route changes recently. Of course, he biggest change is that Shannon became a daddy to daughter, Mackenzie Rose, on September 12, 2017. Shannon is a great daddy, and I totally taken by his little girl. She is his little princess, and he is totally wrapped around her little finger. Of course, Mackenzie has an adorable face, and she is always smiling, so it’s not hard to get wrapped around her little finger. Shannon loves every part of dad life. Many men aren’t so sure about things like diapers and such, but He is incredibly hands on. Whatever Mackenzie needs, Shannon is ready to provide. He handles diapers, feedings, comforting, all with ease.

Shannon loves to do woodworking. He has spent a lot of time this summer on projects around their house. For about a month, Lindsay and Mackenzie came to Wyoming for a visit, and Shannon too that opportunity to create a surprise for Lindsay…and brand new deck. Lindsay was so surprised, and she says it’s just gorgeous!! He also built a some new chairs to go with it!! Shannon likes to keep busy with all the little woodworking projects he has going. Woodworking is a great hobby.

Shannon is a coach for the Eastern Carolina University Pirates football team, and is entering his third season. He has been the special teams coach, but this year he is the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Coaching any area of football is something, Shannon has done, but Recruiting Coordinator is a new position for him. Nevertheless, like everything he does, Shannon will excel it too. Lindsay says that it really is his element! Organization and getting to know people! And that is something we all knew. Shannon is a very social person, and can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.

While Shannon loves his job and meeting people, his heart is always at home with his girls. The first time I met Shannon, I could see just how deep his love for Lindsay was,and now that they have their sweet little daughter, I can see that his life is complete…well, at least until the next baby comes along, down the road. Then, both he and Lindsay will wonder how they ever managed without that baby too…just like they have felt with Mackenzie. The great thing about being parents, is that with each new baby, the love just grows bigger and bigger. There is always room for more. Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As the youngest brother, sometimes it seems that my grand nephew, Isaac Spethman feels the need to be the wild, adventurous type. His big brothers always seem, to Isaac, to be ahead of him, which is, of course, normal because they are his older brothers. Nevertheless, to Isaac, saying that flag football isn’t as tough as regular football, feels like being called the baby. Isaac couldn’t wait to play football with the big boys. This was his first year of getting to do that, and he did great. He was so happy to be playing real football…finally!!

Isaac’s wild side goes beyond football, however. Isaac love the feel of riding a motorcycle with his dad, Steve Spethman. As far as Isaac is concerned, faster is better. Riding is something Isaac can share with his daddy…when his mom isn’t riding with his dad anyway. Isaac gets along well with all the guys. His brother, friends, and his dad and other relatives. He loves hanging out with the guys and playing airsoft wars. Of course, Isaac was raised around guns. He knows about guns…how to be safe with one, and how to shoot one…well. I suppose that skill would come in handy when playing a game called airsoft wars. Isaac and his brothers love all games that bring out their tough-guy side.

While Isaac is a tough-guy, all boy kind of kid, he also has a softer side, although I don’t think he would admit that to just everyone. When it comes to helping a little mermaid named Aleesia down the dock, gentleman that he is, Isaac takes his little sister’s hand to make sure that she always gets safely to wherever it is that she is headed. Aleesia is the baby of the family and the only girl, so her brothers take really good care of her, while letting her know that she is a little princess in their minds. Isaac, being the child closest to Aleesia in age, seems to understand what it’s like to be the little one, and he just instinctively takes his sister protectively by the hand. I’m sure it made Aleesia feel very safe. And really, what are big brothers for, after all. Today is Isaac’s eleventh birthday. I can’t believe that he is so grown up. Happy birthday Isaac!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The birth of your first child is always an exciting time. Your life is forever changed, because you are no longer just you or just a couple, you are a parent…you are somebody’s parent…forever. December 14, 2017, was that day for my grand nephew, Keifer Balcerzak and his wife, Katie, when their beautiful baby girl, Reece Victoria Renae Balcerzak made her grand, two month early entrance into the world. Little baby Reece was not supposed to arrive until about February 20, 2018, but as babies sometimes do, she got in a bit of a hurry. Nevertheless, the good people at Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado were able to delay her arrival by two weeks to give her a little bit more time to grow. And she did a pretty good job of it, weighing in at just 3 pounds 11 ounces, which I think isn’t too bad for a baby who is two months premature. Reece is 17¾ inches long, and she and her Mommy are doing well.

For Katie and Keifer, the love was instantaneous. In fact, Katie put it in such beautiful words that no others are really necessary, when she said, “And at last I see the light, And it’s like the sky is new. And it’s warm and real and bright and the world has somehow shifted…All at once everything is different, now that I see you. Now that I see you…” I think truly does change your life for ever. It is a wonderful miracle…a precious gift from God, to bless your life.

Little Reece is no bigger than a minute, but she is a fighter, and she is going to do just fine. The nurses tell her parents that she is a “feisty handful” and she keeps them busy. That isn’t a bad thing for a preemie baby. The doctors have said that she will likely be moved out of the Level 1 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to the Level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit next week. She won’t be able to be home for her first Christmas, and in reality, her first Christmas was supposed to be next year, but she is a sweet Christmas gift to her mommy, daddy, grandparents, and the rest of her family, all of whom are very excited to meet her. But for now, Reece has some growing to do, because they don’t send babies home when they are no bigger than a minute. So eat hearty baby girl, you have family to meet. Congratulations Keifer and Katie on your tiny bundle of joy.

I think that most people know about the simple, but imaginary way of making a boo-boo all better. It’s all about the power of a healing kiss. It starts when our little ones fall down, and they really aren’t hurt, but they still need some reassurance that everything is going to be alright. The simplest way to let them know that is to kiss it better. Before long, they are coming to you so you can kiss their elbow, their knee, or their head…and you know they really just like your healing kisses…even if there is no current boo-boo.

Pretty soon you find your little angel coming to you to re-kiss the same boo-boo over and over again. It doesn’t hurt anymore, the scrape, scab, and bruise are long gone, but the memory of how awesome it is to have mommy or daddy kiss it better is enough to make them feel very secure. It isn’t that these children are afraid of anything, but rather that they like knowing that their parents will always be there when they need them. Those little healing kisses are a great way to show your little one that you love them, and you will do everything in your power to protect them, and in the absence of being able to prevent a boo-boo, you will always kiss it and make it better.

There can be one little problem with kissing a boo-boo better, however…especially one that is days or weeks old. That is when you plant your healing kiss on the wrong spot. The other night I was visiting my sister, Cheryl Masterson, when her granddaughter, Aleesia Spethman came up to me and showed me a boo-boo on her foot. I looked at her foot quickly, but couldn’t see anything. So, I kissed my finger and touched it to the bottom of the foot she had placed on my lap. That was the wrong move!! Aleesia informed me that I had kissed the wrong spot. The real boo-boo was actually on the side of her big toe. So, I quickly obliged her and kissed my finger, and touched it to the side of her big toe. Aleesia smiled at me, and went merrily on her way. Thankfully when adults goof up by kissing the wrong spot, kids are quick to forgive, provided we correct the offending error.

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