My nephew, Tucker Birky is a child of mixed personal traits. He is hilariously funny, a rough and tumble boy, and yet, with a musical side. Most of the personality types that make up Tucker, are normal for a boy his age. He is funny, as I said, and that has a tendency to get him in a little bit of trouble. It is the class clown in Tucker, typical of so many boys his age that tends to disrupt the class a little bit, and teachers don’t seem to have a very good sense of humor when it comes to that stuff. Imagine that. Recess finds Tucker wanting to play a little bit rough. Tucker is full of energy, and that has to be used up at recess or it will explode somewhere else. So, the playground teacher has to reign him in some on that, but in all reality, Tucker tries to be a good boy, and that makes it hard for the teachers to get too awfully mad at him.
Tucker is an above average student. Math and reading are among his favorite subjects. While it is not uncommon for boys to like math, reading is often a subject that they couldn’t care less about, so for reading to be one of Tucker’s favorite subjects, is great. It is my belief that if a kid can read and comprehend, most can write their own ticket when it comes to their education. Recently, Tucker decided to learn to play the piano. Now, I can’t do it, so I am in awe of anyone who can read notes. I can sing, but to know what key works best for me or to know by the notes what direction a song is going next, so I think that is an accomplishment for Tucker to be very proud of.
Home life for Tucker always includes his older brother, Riley, who Tucker loves very much. Like a lot of little brothers, Tucker wants to do anything his older brother is doing. Riley is the guy Tucker wants to be just like someday. For Riley, that means being a good role model, because someone is watching every move you make, and following you around as much as he is allowed. Riley takes that seriously though. Evenings will often find him reading to his little brother, playing ball with him…any kind of ball will do, and the all important wrestling to help get rid of some of that pent up energy…an activity that always seems to find a good natured Tucker on the bottom, when all is said and done. Don’t get me wrong though, because when it comes to the many brotherly battles the two have had, Tucker has not lost all of them. He will need to understand that shooting your big brother with a BB gun is not the best plan, and is probably one that will get you in trouble with not only your parents, but with the older brother you want to be around. I’m sure that after that one, Riley told Tucker to go away, and so Tucker had lots of alone time to think about a better target to use.
Tucker is a kid who likes to help out around the house. I’m sure that is well received by his mom, who is my sister-in-law, Rachel Schulenberg. Any time you can get a kid to pitch in around the house, you are just that much ahead of the game. Tucker also has a kitten named Jack Jack, who is his very own pet. Tucker is doing a great job of taking care of him, and Jack Jack loves him very much. In fact, the two of them are inseparable. Probably the biggest vise Tucker has is his addiction to candy…a problem that many of us can relate too. The old sweet tooth. The good news is that with birthdays come sweets, and today is Tucker’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand niece, Reagan Parmely arrived the day after her mother, Ashley Parmely’s birthday, three years ago. She was the first grandchild of her grandmother, Jennifer Parmely. The addition of Reagan, and then a year ago, of her little sister, Hattie, have brought new life and lots at activity to the family. She is a busy girl, and she is teaching her little sister the ropes. Together, they keep their parents running. When the rest of your family is adults, the addition of two busy little girls can be a culture shock…even if the parents are active.
Having two daughters of my own, I can relate to the kinds of activity the Parmely family has going on these days. Reagan has had a busy summer, of swimming and playing outdoors. She and her little sister, Hattie have been spending time on the tricycle, with lots of sisterly teamwork used to make the tricycle go. The girls seem to be very good at teamwork, and Hattie is proving to be a power player in their sisterly operations…and between the two of them, there is always something going on. In fact, their mom tells me that about the only thing the girls aren’t into is, you guessed it…sleeping.
Reagan recently started pre-school, which will undoubtedly bring about a big change in her. There is no way to go from being a toddler at home with the family, to being a student, without the whole process changing you forever. A toddler quickly transitions into a child. They have seen a whole new world out there that goes beyond their own little corner of it. Suddenly, they discover that there are many children in the world. New playmates await them. Reagan has so much fun ahead of her, and I’m very excited for her. There is so much to learn. Her school career is just starting, and she will learn so much as she goes along. Reagan is such a smart little girl and I know that she will do well as a student. She loves learning new things. I think most kids do.
Back at home, Reagan is the big sister and mommy’s helper once again. Though she loves school, and the many new things she is learning there, she misses her family too. Reagan and her sister, Hattie are best friends. That’s how it is with sisters. Sure, you may fight, but in the end there is no one that means more to a kid, other than their parents, of course. Reagan has so many things to show her little sister. Some of the greatest life lessons are taught by siblings, whether they know it or not. Reagan will play an active role in the person her sister, Hattie becomes. And Hattie will play an active role in the person her sister, Reagan becomes. The girls will be forever friends, because that is the awesomeness of having a sister. That is something I can attest to, coming from a family of sisters. They will grow in to a team as the years go by…Team Parmely!! I think we will see a lot of good things come from this team in the future. Today is Reagan’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Reagan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my sister, Cheryl Masterson got married, and shortly after her then husband’s basic training, moved to Plattsburgh, New York, it marked a huge change in our family’s life. In fact, our family’s home life would never be the same again. Of course, we knew that having our sister get married and move out of the house was perfectly normal, but we were a close family, and somehow, we just weren’t prepared for that day. Of course, it was especially hard on my parents, and I can certainly understand that, since I have a daughter who lives far away now too, but in many ways, I think Cheryl’s move was harder on me than on my little sisters. Cheryl was the oldest, but she had always been a role model for me too. She had style and class, and I was at the very awkward age of fifteen. It seemed to me that she would be gone forever, and in the end, I was married before she came home, and I had my first daughter too. In many ways, we were both very different people by the time she returned. She was the mother of three children, and I had a daughter and one on the way. We were no longer the children we had been just a few short years before.
Of course, we saw Cheryl and her family during the time they lived in New York, in fact the family made two trips and I went up and spent Christmas and New Years the year after I graduated from high school. And the trips were wonderful…a great blessing to be sure. I suppose Mom and Dad might have taken us to the East Coast for a vacation sooner or later, because they did love to travel, but I might not have been still living at home when they did it, so I guess, for me, that this situation opened up doors that might not have been opened otherwise. Nevertheless, I think if we had been given the choice to have the trips to New York or Cheryl and her family living here, we would have taken the latter for sure. Be that as it may, our trips to New York allowed us to see the ocean, eat Maine Lobster, and see Niagara Falls. We saw Washington DC, Gettysburg, the bridges in Vermont, and many other sites up and down the East Coast. I suppose that looking back, we would have to admit that having Cheryl living in upstate New York, was in all reality, the opportunity of a lifetime…were it not for upstate New York being so very far away…that is.
Those trips were a lot of fun, but they did not come even remotely close to having our family all together. And with each trip came the inevitable goodbyes and the parting tears. It felt like our hearts would just break…especially Mom and Dad, and poor Dad had to be the strong one all the way home with five weepy women in the car with him. He had to be the one to finally say, “We have to go. This is just too hard on everyone.” He had to do it because our sadness would have kept us there in tears for hours, if someone didn’t break us away. He had to be the strong one…because we sure couldn’t. Once Cheryl’s husband’s time in the service was over, they moved back to Casper, where she and her kids have lived ever since. Once the time was suddenly over, we could look back on it and it seemed to go by quite fast, but in the midst of it, that time felt like our world was falling apart. In reality, it was simply that we were no longer children, and life had taken the next logical step for us. I’m just glad that we are mostly closer to home now, with just a few exceptions.
For a girl, turning twelve means that she is stepping into those teen and pre-teen years. For most of us, those years are tumultuous at best. We can’t decide if we like ourselves or hate ourselves. One minute we are sure that we must be the ugliest girl ever, and the next minute we look in the mirror, and there stands a girl who might just have some pretty features, after all. While this rite of passage is normal for girls of this age, it is not fun, so while I’m excited for the future of my grandniece, Raelynn Masterson, I also know that the road ahead will likely be a bit bumpy. Nevertheless, Raelynn has an advantage over me, in that she is a very pretty girl. Hmmm…maybe I haven’t moved past that stage…or maybe we never really do.
Of course, looks are not the only things on Raelynn’s mind. She is a resourceful girl. She is interested in how things work, and in making things better in her world. I suppose that is why she decided to run for class secretary at school last year. She wanted to be able to affect changes in areas where they were needed. She is a thinker. She sees a problem, and thinks things through to come up with the best solution. Those are the kinds of people we need in politics…honest, concerned, and logical. Maybe we need to have her run for president of the United States. She would do a far better job that our current president, if you ask me.
Raelynn is a smart girl. She like to play chess with her Uncle Dave Chase…a game that takes forethought and good strategy skills. I’m not sure how often she beats him, but just being able to play Chess is a skill that many people don’t have. I used to play it, years ago, but I haven’t played in so long, that I’m not even sure I remember how anymore. Raelynn is growing up so fast that sometimes she seems much older that her young years…another anomaly that seems to happen about this age, whether it is because they are maturing so fast, or that they want to be grown up already. They definitely seem to be twelve, going on…
Still, no matter how old Raelynn gets, she will always be her daddy’s girl. She and my nephew, Rob Masterson have such a close relationship. She is close with her mom, Dustie Masterson too, but for a lot of girls, being a Daddy’s Girl is simply the way it is. Raelynn also loves her siblings. She looks up to her older sister, Christina Masterson, and is a great role model for her younger siblings, Matthew and Audrianna Masterson. She is a great big sister, and she makes life fun for all who know her. Today is Raelynn’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I asked my niece, Andrea Beach about her thoughts on her mom, my sister, Caryl Reed, her first words were…”She is my hero!” During her children’s childhood, Caryl spent a lot of time as a single mom, while her ex-husband was in the Navy and often away on cruises for as much as a year at a time. Sometimes they were able to come home and spend that year here in Casper, but as the kids got older, moving from school to school wasn’t always easy, so she stayed in Oak Harbor, Washington, and later, Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was a big job, but one she did well, according to Andrea. Having one parent deployed is a tough situation to deal with for a kid, but it is one that was made less difficult for Andrea by her hero…her mom.
Andrea says that she is so impressed with her mother’s faith and her walk with God. She is Andrea’s inspiration and role model. Caryl has, as have we all, been raised in the church, and our walk with the Lord is the guiding light of our lives. We would not want to walk this Earth without God in our lives, because to walk without God is to truly walk alone.
Andrea told about the kind of role model her mother was. To Andrea, Caryl seemed a lot like Mary Poppins, because she was so sweet and pure. She always found a respectable way to handle situations, refusing to resort to things like cussing. Once when Andrea was being picked on, Caryl told her to tell those people to “keep their minds out of the gutter”, to which Andrea said, “That’s just what I told them.” Apparently, Caryl had mentioned that people should keep their minds out of the gutter before. That was part of the upbringing my sisters and I received from our parents. Cussing was not allowed in our home, and isn’t a part of our lives now either. Like our parents, we all feel like there are ways of expressing ourselves without resorting to cussing…and they were right. I still don’t think cussing is a necessary part of communication.
Caryl is blessed to be married to her best friend and the love of her life, Mike Reed. Andrea says, “They are madly in love and they are a perfect fit.” I think that is such a true statement. In her tribute, Andrea also correctly stated that Caryl “would do anything for her family and those she loves.” And that is a true statement too. Today is Caryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Caryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Those firsts in the world of aunts and uncles are among the coolest of times in a person’s life…often the closest thing to having your own kids. Quite often the first time you become an aunt or uncle, you are still pretty young, unless you are the oldest child. For my two younger sisters-in-law and my brother-in-law, they were 14, 12, and 7 years old. Becoming aunts and uncle was a very exciting time for them. My sisters and I became aunts 4 years earlier when my sister Cheryl had her daughter, Chantel. For Bob’s family, with the exception of Debbie, Corrie was the child who made them aunts and uncle, and they were quite excited about it. I could relate, for sure!
Jennifer would become our first babysitter, and would also have the most difficult time of it when she found out that Amy could be very hard to feed, since Amy and bottles…well, let’s just say they would never be friends. Brenda got to babysit when they were about 3 and 4, so she didn’t have to deal with Amy’s bottle boycott, and probably had a lot more fun with it, because she could play with them more. Ron…on the other hand, never really babysat the girls much; he was simply their playmate, which might have been the best deal of all. One thing I know for sure, Ron was always happy when he got to hold the babies by himself. I guess it made him feel grown up. Growing up around your aunts and uncles to a large degree was such a blessing for the girls. There was always someone to do things with, and later on, the tables turned, and they became the babysitters, so it paid off to a degree that their aunts and uncle took care of them.
Becoming aunts and uncle, changed the lives of my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law forever, as it does for all of us. Helping out with the raising of those precious little ones that you have been blessed with, is an amazing opportunity, and a big responsibility. Those kids look up to you, and it is important to give them a good role model. I am glad that the aunts and uncles my girls had…on both sides of the family were great role models, and I love each and every one of them very much.
My grand nephew, Xander is the oldest of the five children of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. He takes his job as the first born very seriously. Like any kid, he has his fights with his two brothers, but that has nothing to do with his duties as the big brother. They are his little brothers and his little sister, and they are his top priority. Xander is wise beyond his years and knows the value of life…possibly because he has already experienced loss in his young life, having lost his sister, Laila when she was 18 days old and he was seven years old. It was an event that made his tender heart break. Now, like his brothers, he brings little gifts to the sister he won’t get to know on this Earth, because his big brother’s heart feels so much love for her.
As the oldest child, Xander tries to always be a good role model for his younger siblings. That means studying hard and getting good grades, so he can encourage them to do the same. It also means that he works hard at whatever job he is doing, because he knows that it is the right thing to do…to always do your very best work. So that’s what he does whenever he is asked to help out around the house…he works hard at it and does the job right. And it means that Xander stays out of trouble, because how can a big brother be a good role model for his younger siblings, if he is getting in trouble all the time. He is the kind of boy who makes his parents proud, and makes his brothers want to be just like him. He is a good and loving boy.
In his leisure time, Xander participates is sports…of all kinds. He likes to play football and basketball. He also studies Tae kwon do. He likes to ride motorcycles and snowmobiles. He’s tried lots of sports, but football is his very favorite. Like his dad, he also loves guns, and loves to go out the range to do some shooting. Of course, any guy who likes gun, likes to hunt, and Xander is no exception. After passing his Hunter Safety Course in mid-March, I’m sure that he is very excited to go hunting with his dad this fall. All in all, Xander is just an all around boy. Today is Xander’s birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! We love you very much!! Have a great 10th birthday!!
When you were born Siara, you were such a tiny little girl. You were so much like your mom and grandma…sophisticated from the moment you arrived. Some people are just like that, and you were definitely one of those. You had a smile that made the sun seem to shine a little brighter, and you were and are so stylish. While you never grew to be tall, you had a personality the made you seem larger than life. You always wanted to be tall, but now, I think you have grown quite comfortable in your own skin, and you know that it doesn’t take height to make you a success. It’s all about what is on the inside, and Siara, you have it all, and you will go far.
Now, you are 18 years old and graduating, and I am finding it very hard to believe. Where have the years gone? How can you be graduating already? I am so proud of all you have accomplished in your school career. You are an amazing cheerleader, and a great student. You have proven yourself to be a role model, a true friend, and even a national champion. Your high school years have been filled with many successes, and I know that whatever you choose to do as a career, you will excel in as well, because you know how to succeed.
Now your high school career is over, and your life journey is just beginning. There are so many possibilities for you to choose from, so many roads to take. You may start out on one road, and find that you want to go down another road altogether, or you may find the road you want right away, or you may already know where you are going. It doesn’t matter, because that is what life is all about…growing and changing. No matter how you change or what you choose to be, you will be great, because you are an amazing person…a big success in a little package.
I still can’t believe that today, you are a high school graduate. How can that be? You should still be that little teeny girl running around your grandma’s house, or spending the night at grandma’s with Lacey, giggling the night away, and then not wanting to get up the next morning. Now, those little girl days are over, and you go forth into the world, ready to take it on and win! I am so proud of all you have accomplished and all you will accomplish. I am also very excited for you, because it is the dawn of a new day for you. The world is yours…go out and take it!! Congratulations on your High School Graduation little Si-Si!!
When my nephew, Barry was little, he spent a lot of time with his grandparents, my in-laws, while his mom, my sister-in-law, Jennifer worked. Like most little boys, Barry had at least one hero. Often a boys hero is a television character, and that may have been the case for Barry, but his real hero was his grandpa. He wanted to be just like him. In fact, he told us once that he didn’t need to go to school, because he was going to “stay home and work” with Grandpa.
Oh, and work he did. From the time he was a little boy, he wanted to be on the tractor, or using his wagon to help Grandpa haul in wood for the fire. Anything his grandpa was doing was simply ok in his book. Barry helped him with snow, wood, cars, cows, just about everything. His grandpa was his best buddy and hero. Yes, Barry wanted to be just like Grandpa, and oddly, he got his way in more ways than just work and other activities. It amazes me just how much Barry looks like his grandpa. Looking back at old pictures of my father-in-law and comparing them to my nephew, they could almost be the same person.
Pretty much every boy, and child for that matter, has a hero or two in their lives, and if you ask me, Barry could have chosen a far worse role model than my father-in-law, who is a hard working and very caring man. In many ways, Barry’s life has been modeled after his grandpa’s. Barry works hard and holds himself to high standards. He is a man that can be counted on whenever you need him. And to this day he would do just about anything for his grandpa. It’s is sort of like the tables have turned now. My father-in-law is 82 years old, and can’t do all the things he used to. We, his children and grandchildren, help him out with whatever he needs, and Barry is one of the grandchildren that we can always count on to come and help out with whatever needs done.
Barry has turned into a good man, and it has been a pleasure watching him grow up. He could have chosen to be wild and crazy and to mess up his life, but he chose to model himself after a good man, and become one himself. As his aunt, that makes me very proud and grateful to my nephew. Thanks for all you do Barry!!