My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is a sweet little boy, who is the youngest of his parents three children, and their only son. That means that Bowen spends most of his days living in a largely female world, at least when his daddy, Eric Parmely isn’t home. Nevertheless, that does not mean anything, because Bowen’s mommy, Ashley Parmely, and his sisters, Reagan and Hattie are farm girls. They do all the things that farm girls do, from mucking the stalls, to feeding the animals, to stacking the hay, and any other things that need done on a farm. There is not much possibility of raising a sissy boy when he is being raised around tough women like his mom, and even his sisters, who are barely past toddler age themselves, and yet they are experienced farm girls.
Bowen’s upbringing has been a bit unusual in that while he couldn’t exactly help out on the farm, he could observe, and learn by doing so. As is typical for kids, work can look like fun…and can even seem like play. Kids like to mimic their parents, and younger siblings like to mimic older siblings, so just as his sisters learned the occupation of farming, so will Bowen. He has watched his sisters work with the animals, feeling somewhat cheated because he didn’t get to “play” too. Then, when his sisters were in school or otherwise occupied, his mommy would put Bowen in a backpack carrier, and they would go and do the work together. As I said, Bowen’s mommy is tough, and while everyone thought I was tough with a baby in a front pack and a baby in a backpack when I went shopping, looking at Ashley, I don’t think I was so tough. Carrying around a baby, who is growing as fast as Bowen has, while doing farm work is beyond tough, if you ask me.
As Bowen has grown, and learned to walk, he is becoming more of a help around the farm. Of course, he may not be as much help as his mommy and daddy would like, and certainly not as much help as he will be as he get older, but every good worker had to start with that first little job, then as they grew, so did their responsibilities. Bowen will become an amazing little farm boy as time goes on, because like his parents, he will learn to love that lifestyle. I have no doubt that Bowen will grow up to be as big a help on the farm as his older sisters have. He can’t help but turn out great with his parents training. Today is Bowen’s first birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My cousin, Shirley Cameron is the first granddaughter of my grandmother, Anna Louise Schumacher Spencer and grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer, and would remain the only granddaughter for nearly the first seven years of her life. As the first granddaughter, and the only one for so long, she and my grandmother became quite close. Grandma passed away when I was just six months old, so I never really got to know her. Nevertheless, Shirley has told me a few things about Grandma that give me a bit of a view of her…humorous side. Kids tend to get into trouble with their parents, and Shirley is no different, but Shirley had a bit of an edge when it came to getting in trouble with her mom. She would run to her Grandma Spencer, who would teasingly shield her from her mother’s wrath. It’s one thing to plan to spank your child, but when your mother gets in the middle of things and makes the whole thing seem like a game of chase, it sometimes becomes impossible…not to laugh, that is.
Our grandmother spent part of her time in a wheelchair, due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Shirley remembers climbing up on her lap and tearing around the house with much screaming, of excitement that is, while her mother most likely sported a headache from all the noise, but I must admit, I would probably find it quite fun to ride around the house on Grandma’s lap in her wheelchair. I also think that while Grandma and Shirley might have ganged up on Aunt Ruth, and Grandma might have helped Shirley get away with a few things, Aunt Ruth probably also loved watching the two of them being so close. I suppose that could be the grandma in me talking, because I loved being so close to my grandchildren. It is a privilege that is simply priceless. Nevertheless, I think my grandkids liked it too. There is just something wonderful about being close to your grandparents.
As with most of us, those childhood days have long since turned into childhood memories. Both Grandma and Aunt Ruth have been in Heaven now for many years, but Shirley will always have the memories of those amazing fun times, and that is something most of the rest of us will never have, because we were either too little, or not born yet, when our grandma passed away, with the exception of three of the grandsons. Knowing Grandma is something I wish I had been able to do too, but I love hearing about the good times Shirley and Grandma had. Today is Shirley’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday Shirley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Kids grow up so quickly, and it often seems like the ones who have an older sibling grow up faster. Such is the case with my grand niece, Hattie Joy Parmely. Hattie is turning two years old today, but with the help of her sister, Reagan Parmely, she just seems older than two. When I think of a two year old, I think of a child who is trying to learn to pedal a tricycle, but instead, Hattie rides a Strider. Now for those of you who don’t know, that is a bicycle with no pedals. Instead of pedaling, the rider uses their feet to basically run the bicycle down the road. I realize that this method is not like riding a bicycle exactly, but it does take a degree of coordination, and Hattie has mastered it very well.
Lots of kids like to climb, but I’m not sure I have seen too many that can climb a stack of hay bails. Granted, once again, Hattie had the help of her big sister, Reagan, and in the end just a little push from her mommy, Ashley Parmely. Reagan didn’t initially realize that Hattie needed help, but Hattie let her know…in no uncertain terms, saying, “Reagie, help me!! Help me Reagie!!” And of course, Reagan did help her. Very soon Hattie was up on that bale of hay, right beside her big sister, because, while she is only two, that does not mean she can’t do the things her big sister does…just watch her, if you don’t believe it.
Hattie and her family live in the country, and they have lots of animals to take care of. Hattie and Reagan aren’t one bit scared of the animals, and in fact I think they think of them more as their babies. So while most little girls are playing with dolls, these girls are playing with goats, chickens, and horses. They help to care for them, and get to ride the horses, and eventually they will learn the ropes even more, although, cleaning up after them might not be the thrill of their days. Still, as the saying goes, “It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.” And as kids get older, they learn all the ropes of having animals.
Hattie looks so much like her daddy, Eric Parmely, and we all thought her sister Reagan did too, but as Reagan has grown, she has started to look more like her mommy. I suppose that time will tell, as to whether or not Hattie will start to take on more of her mommy’s features. We will just have to wait and see what the future brings. Today is Hattie’s 2nd birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Over the years, my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce have made use of boxes for lots of things. In fact, like most kids, they have used boxes in every way imaginable. They have taken the gifts out of the box and set the gift aside, before playing in and with the box. Boxes have been their forts, playhouse, hiding place, storage for their treasures, and many other uses. It is an age old tradition that kids have played in and with boxes for as long as there have been boxes big enough for kids to get into.
My daughter, Amy went so far as to try sitting in a shoe box that had been used to wrap a Christmas gift. She was too big for the box to say the least, but that didn’t phase her a bit. That box usage was the funniest one I can think of. Amy was always a teeny little girl, but she was still too big for that little shoe box. Nevertheless, watching Amy try to get into that box, knowing that it was too small, was very funny. She was so determined to get into it, and it never occurred to her that she was too big.
With all the uses kids have found for boxes, I am amazed that I can still be surprised by the use someone has come up with for a cardboard box. One of the greatest ideas I have ever seen is the coloring box. Now I don’t mean a box to keep your coloring supplies in. I mean that you put the kid in the box and Turk then loose with the crayons. They can’t color on the walls, because they are inside a box. It gives meaning to coloring inside the lines. We try to get our kids to color carefully so they work with them and work with them, but really until that kid is ready to color inside the lines.
The cool idea about coloring inside a box is that it doesn’t make a mess. The mess stays in the box, where it doesn’t mess up the paint on your walls, or the carpet on your floors. The other cool thing is that the kids have a great time, because coloring inside a box, and coloring the inside of a box are something totally different to do. It’s almost like coloring on the walls, except that they don’t get into trouble for it. It almost seems like a crazy thing to do, and after all, aren’t kids all about doing things that are crazy. As for the parents…well, they are heroes, because they found something for the kids to do that almost seemed like it was something that was not allowed. I mean, you wouldn’t let your kids write on the walls, but the walls of a box, is allowed. It makes the kids feel like they got away with something…well, maybe not, but it’s fun anyway.
With kids, you never really know what is going to happen. One minute they’re happily playing and the next, one or more are taking sides against another. The funny thing is that often the fighting is so noisy that the adults aren’t sure what happened or who is to blame. Other times the fight is a little bit more of the silent treatment, so often no one really realizes that there was a problem, until it shows up in a picture. That is obviously what was going on that day between my nieces, Jessi and Michelle, while Lindsay wasn’t sure what to make of the whole situation, and the adults didn’t know anything was wrong. Jessi was trying very hard to get the message across to Michelle that she should get out of here!! The funny thing is that Jessi and Michelle get along very well, and are in fact friends, but that day, they were definitely on the outs!! I would love to know what that fight was all about, and maybe one of them will remember it, and tell us…if they aren’t too embarrassed about it. The funny thing to me is the fact that I have looked at this picture dozens of times, but this was the first time that I noticed that anything was amiss. I have to wonder how many others missed it too.
Most kids have times when they wish the younger kids would just get out of here…it just goes with the territory of being older. Unfortunately, there are very few times when they really have control over it. All the younger ones had to do was tattle to a parent, and they got to stay…with the possible exception of the older child’s room. This usually caused total irritation by the older child, who vowed to get even at the soonest possibly opportunity. I have been both the older and the younger child in that scenario and I think that in reality, neither is fun, but if I had to choose, I’d rather be the older child. At least with the older child, they get the a few of the privileges of age.
I think it is so funny to see the candid expressions on children’s faces, because they don’t hold anything back. If they are happy, they look delighted, and when they are mad…well, you know it!! Jessi is normally such a smiley girl, so to see her glaring at Michelle was so shocking. Not to say that she can’t get mad, but those girls get along so well, and really always have, so this look of total disdain was very much unlike them. It looked to me like Michelle, was definitely intimidated by Jessi, and didn’t feel real interested in crossing the imaginary line Jessi had drawn. All I can say is that whatever the problem was, it was probably short lived, and they both lived through the ordeal. I’m sure that later…after they saw the picture, they probably laughed about it for some time.
When kids are small, they are happy with a penny or a nickel, because they don’t know that these coins are not really worth very much in today’s world. All they know is that with that penny or nickel, they can go to a gumball machine and buy a piece of gum, and after all, isn’t that sort of thing the extent of their buying world at that early age.
Like all kids their age, Corrie and Amy loved getting money, in the form of coins, for their piggy banks and to put in the gumball machines. They learned quickly that those little pieces of metal were of great value, and they asked for them often. Sometimes they even found money on the ground, as we all have, and then you really got to see the excitement in their eyes, and hear it in their voices. It’s funny that as time goes by, we find ourselves leaving coins on the ground where we see them, because we now understand that they are not really very valuable. My girls were living in that special time, when coins still had value.
That childlike valuation of money was never made more clear to me that it was one day when my girls and I were at home, and they were about 3 and 2 years of age. The girls were playing with their toys in the living room, as I was cleaning the house. I had been back in the bedrooms. I brought out some trash to throw in the trash can under the sink in the kitchen. As I went to throw the trash away, something caught my eye in the trash can. I really have no idea why I even glanced into the trash can that day. It was not something I would normally have done. Nevertheless, I did glance down and then looked again…more carefully. Inside the trash can, I saw one hundred dollars, in twenty dollar bills. I was totally shocked.
I turned to see the girls with some coins in their hands. They had gone into my purse and taken out the money they thought was valuable, and then decided to help their mommy clean out her purse, by throwing away the useless paper that was in the wallet. In doing so, they had thrown away the hundred dollars that was in my wallet. It would have been lost, had it not been for the glance into the trash can, that I uncharacteristically made. I can’t say for sure if it was both of my girls who got the idea to get the money, or just Corrie, who the would have shared her take with her sister. I just know that I was thankful that I had looked into the trash can, and indeed, I looked as I threw things away for a number of years after that too, because I knew then, full well that when it came to the value of money, my little girls and I clearly had different ideas.
One year ago today, we received a new little addition to the Schulenberg family. Little miss Reagan could have arrived on her mommy’s birthday, and in fact maybe she tried, but she wasn’t quite fast enough, and so they each have their own birthday…one day apart. I also, have to think that was probably the last time Reagan was too slow about anything. Babies have a way of growing up way, way too fast, and as they grow, they also get their teeth too fast, crawl too fast, and walk too fast. Before you know it, they are in school, driving, dating and married and having kids of their own. Whew!! It’s enough to make you get winded.
Reagan looks so much like her daddy, that it is like they are twins, but she got her silly personality from her daddy and her mommy. Reagan makes the funniest faces, and has from the time she was just teeny, but lately she has been making some new faces. Things like trying to wink, the “who me, I didn’t make this mess” look, and the “here mommy, you eat it, if it’s so good” look, are just a few of the looks I have noticed. I think that as time goes on, we will be treated to many more of the silly looks that our miss Reagan can make.
Reagan, like many other kids, likes to take the things that are stored in a box out of the box, so she can get in the box. She reminds me of my kids and my grandson, Chris. All of them loved playing in boxes…after the contents have been removed…I mean, who needs the toys or books that were in the box anyway. Reagan is getting to that age where getting into things is what she is all about. And her funny faces still play a part in all that…like, “I’m sure I don’t know what you are talking about!! I wasn’t getting into anything!!” She has a side to her that is very easy to see. I can tell that this little girl will be just as sweet as she can be…with a big helping of mischief on the side. Today is Reagan’s first birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have an extra special day!! We love you!!
The older I get, the less I seem to be able to tolerate Winter. The early winter storms we have received this year…in the fall, have done nothing to improve the feeling of dread I get as Winter approaches. It wasn’t always that way, of course. As a kid, I can remember being more than ready to go outside when it snowed. Building snowmen and making snow angels always seemed like so much fun. And, if you could get someone to push you on a sled, then you really had a great time. Snowball fights and snow forts are a must for winter fun, and it didn’t matter if you could throw a snowball with any accuracy or not.
I do remember those days…when I associated snow with fun, and somehow managed to forget how cold playing outside in Winter made me. Was I warmer then, somehow…or was it that I had more energy to do more moving back then? I suppose that it could be a bit of both, and no matter what the reason was, I just don’t seem to have that same ability to stay warm any more. Sometimes, I wish I did, because I’m going to be living in Casper, Wyoming, and like it or not, we get Winter here in Wyoming.
There will always be kids, who can’t wait to get out there in the snow, and some of those “kids” will likely be of the adult kind, but there will also always those who, like me, are seriously over the cold. My sister-in-law, Jennifer loves to go skiing, my sister, Allyn’s family love to get out there in the snow, and my sister, Cheryl loves the cold, although not really the snow. They can have it if you ask me, because I am a definite Summer person…ok maybe Spring…but definitely not Winter.
As it says in the Bible, “there is a time to every purpose under Heaven” and I guess that applies to the Winter cold too. There is a time when kids love the cold and the fun they can have there, and then there is a time when these same kids, now adults find themselves feeling totally over the Winter…and it hasn’t even started yet!
You never know what babies have on their minds. They sit and watch as the world goes by around them. While others get in on all the fun, babies are just stuck, sitting in a high chair, stroller, or in their mommy’s arms. Always held onto, and very seldom free to run with the rest of the crowd.
My grand niece, Aleesia is one of just such a baby. At a little over 1 year in age, she still gets carried much of the time, and she doesn’t find that a bad thing…usually. There are times when she wants to get down and do her own thing, but when she is not at the house, there are fewer opportunities for her to have that freedom she wants. And with 3 brothers and her mom and dad, she gets held a lot even at home…as it should be. Still, her brothers get to go and do so many things that she does not, and that fact does not go un-noticed by our little Aleesia.
Sometimes, when her brothers are goofing off together, she begins to feel left out, and that…is totally unacceptable. After watching her brothers talking, playing and laughing for a while, Aleesia decides that it is time for them to remember that she is there as well, and they just need to pay attention to her too. In a recent picture shoot, while the family was on an outing, my niece Liz, Aleesia’s aunt, was taking pictures of just Jenny and the kids. They were doing a group pose, and the boys were having a good time joking and laughing amongst themselves, when Aleesia decided that they had ignored her long enough.
Jenny was holding Aleesia in the picture, and Liz…who must have seen what was about to happen…just kept shooting. Aleesia decided that the best way to get her brothers’ attention and get in on the fun, was to reach down and grab Isaac’s hair. I had to wonder how she even managed to get a hold of it at all, because it isn’t very long, but she did. Now, her other brothers thought the whole thing was hilarious, and Isaac wasn’t upset by it either, because those boys think their sister is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it was a bit if a shock to Isaac, nevertheless. And, a person can only take so much hair pulling, so Isaac had to defend his hair, and disengage his little sister’s fingers from it, but since Liz was still snapping those pictures, I was able to see the whole thing play out almost like a movie. And since I’m sure Isaac got to keep his hair in the end, I got to see the totally humorous side of the situation, when little sister got into mischief.
When my brother-in-law, Ron was about 10 years old, he had an Irish Setter dog named, what else…Red. Ron loved that dog, and they were pretty much inseparable. Ron was trying very hard to teach his dog as many trick as he thought the dog could learn. It doesn’t seem to me that he was having a lot of success with most of them, but when he patted his own shoulders, the dog knew it meant to stand on his hind legs and put his front paws on Ron’s shoulders. It soon became their favorite form of play. Red loved Ron, and wanted to be with him all the time, but sometimes Ron had chores to do.
About that time Bob and I were living on the same property as his parents, while we got our land ready to move onto. Corrie was 2 years old, and Amy was 1 year old. Ron was always playing with Red in the yard, and that was also where the girls played. That was just how it had to be, the yard was a shared space. The girls never minded playing out there, because when Ron was out there, they had a great time. Of course, the girls were interested in the play with the new dog, and they watched intently. But as little girls do, they lost interest pretty fast.
Eventually, they started going out in the yard playing their own games, and this too, would have been fine, except for one thing. Red, had been learning the best way to play with people. As Corrie walked out into the yard, he bounded over to her and…you guessed it, put his paws on her shoulders, knocking her down immediately. As her high pitched screams hit the air, Red retreated…in a big hurry. I think I might have done the same thing if I were Red, because Corrie could really scream.
Amy had a little bit different encounter with Red, because the dog seemed to understand that a crawling child was very different from a walking child. Amy could crawl around under Red’s feet, and was very careful. He never stepped on her or scared her in any way, but with Corrie, he just didn’t get it. Walking kids should be big enough to do Red’s favorite trick. He was bewildered by this problem. Finally he quit trying, because I’m sure those screams were scary. Unfortunately it took Corrie a number of years to trust dogs again…any dogs. I can’t blame Red for this, because after all, he was just playing.