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Time For Play

Pets and Hobbies Provide Entertainment and Enrichment for Kids

Article by Nancy C. Hermann

Photography by Cindy Alvarez

Originally published in Tulsa Lifestyle

CHARIS TOBLER

MOM AND DAD, OMARE AND SHON JIMMERSON

Festivals like Juneteenth make Tulsa a fun place to be, said 12-year-old Charis Tobler. She’s a fan of cultural celebrations. Her favorite class in school is Social Studies. An activity that brings people together, like playing Roblox with her friends, is always a good time. “I get to dress up and play different games, and I like to move around. I really enjoy dancing.” 

Charis would like to be an interior designer one day. She follows Mina Starsiak on HGTV. Although Charis has no plans to claim the spotlight, her mom, Omare Jimmerson, says Charis lights up when performing in front of a crowd.

The Mexican restaurant Chuy’s is among Charis’ top choices when dining out. Their chips are made fresh, she noted, and “the creamy jalapeno sauce with their salsa is the best.” In the home-cooking arena, it’s hard to beat her dad’s hash-brown casserole, she said.

Taking walks and playing with her two dogs, Man and Justice, are among Charis’ favorite pastimes. “I also like to cuddle with them when I can,” she added. Man, her 13-year-old Rat Terrier, is older than Charis, and as energetic. “Our floors are a little slick, and sometimes when he’s running full-speed and tries to stop, he slides across the floor. One time he slid right under the rug in our living room!” Says her mom, “Charis is really sweet and thoughtful when it comes to other people’s feelings and caring for animals.”

JULIAN TALMON

MOM AND DAD, KIMBERLY BUTLER AND JOCHEN TALMON

There aren’t many kids who can tell tales of fishing for piranha in the Amazon and swimming with penguins off the Galapagos Islands. At age 13, Julian Talmon is a seasoned traveler. “I caught two piranhas, including one red-bellied piranha,” recounted Julian of his recent adventure. “We caught them using a stick with a string and a hook with beef. Don’t worry, we released all the fish.” 

Julian’s family has two dogs, a cat, and a nine-year-old frog. “Murray is my dog, though,” explained Julian. “We rescued him from the SPCA. He’s half-American Staffordshire and half Great Pyrenees. He takes up my whole bed when we sleep at night.” Added Julian, “My giant dog is scared of cicadas. When he sees one on the ground, he barks incessantly at it. We have taken videos of him trying to scare them away. It is hilarious. He is so brave, except when he sees a cicada.”

One of Julian’s favorite meals is the vegan chicken sandwich at Mother Road Market’s Chicken and the Wolf, and he also enjoys Que Gusto, located in the Tulsa Arts District. 

At school, Julian likes his geography and science classes best, which align with his goal to become and aeronautical engineer. Buzz Aldrin stands out for Julian as someone to emulate. “I would like to be on ground assisting the astronauts going to space someday.” 

AVERY AND RILEY FRERE

MOM AND DAD, APRIL AND BRIAN FRERE

The Frere sisters, Avery and Riley, are engaged in a range of activities. Most of them involve exercise and being outdoors.

“I love riding horses,” says Riley (age 14). Riley also makes time for skateboarding and fishing. Art is her favorite subject in school, and drawing is a pastime. Artist Bob Ross has been an inspiration. 

Avery spends playtime with her dogs and enjoys swimming, doodling and gaming. Through her involvement in “cheer,” she met “cheer and pom” coach Kim Clark, who has become a role model. There’s also a more pensive side to this 10-year-old. “I love to think up new ideas for businesses.” Also, she professed, “I like fidget trading.”

Both Avery and Riley are fond of Asian cuisine. Avery lists noodles as her favorite food and enjoys meals at Osaka. Riley loves sushi, with Yokozuna topping her list of dining spots. 

Their go-to place in Tulsa for summertime treats is the donut, dessert and coffee spot Sugar Llamas. The maple bacon donuts are Riley’s favorite, and Avery likes to order the “Vanilla Heaven” ice-cream. 

The Freres house an interesting assortment of pets. The canine members of the family are Prince, a Yorkie, and two Golden Retrievers, Pete and Cane. The antics and loving nature of pets have added a satisfying and entertaining element to family life. Prince dances and barks at the inflatable duck in their pool. Cane is a retriever who loves to swim but refuses to retrieve! Pete loves to cuddle and play fetch. Cane was named in honor of the University of Tulsa’s Golden Hurricane, given that April Frere, the girls’ mom, is a TU alumna. Her husband Brian Frere had a hand in choosing the name for Pete. He’s a graduate of OSU where “Pistol Pete” keeps Cowboy fans energized.

Also included in the Frere pet family are Stubby, a Leopard Gecko; a Beta Fish named Azul; and their turtle, Roxy.

When the surf is up, the Frere family is known to head for Seaside, Florida or Grand Cayman. This summer, Avery and Riley are finding that  Carlton Landing (a short drive from Tulsa) satisfies their fondness for fun in the sun. “We love the community. It is like the Seaside of Oklahoma,” said April Frere. “The girls love spending time there in the outdoors. They have lots of adventures and fun kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, riding their bikes and playing volleyball games with the neighborhood friends.”

MARGARET HOPE-HERNANDEZ

MOM AND DAD, HEATHER HOPE-HERNANDEZ AND CHRIS HERNANDEZ

The daughter and granddaughter of three writers, Margaret Hope-Hernandez (age 11) is understandably drawn to the world of books. “I enjoy reading in my free time, especially the Enola Holmes books by Nancy Springer,” she said. “I have fun doing Photoshop on my mom’s computer, and I love listening and singing along with music. I like to read because reading is a great escape from the real world. Photoshop is a great way to be creative when you can only draw to a limited degree, and singing is just fun for me to do.”

Margaret’s  family sings her praises when it comes to her baking. Plum Galette and Prinsesstårta, a Swedish princess cake, are specialties. When dining on the town, this budding gourmet loves Stone Horse Café and The Polo Grill. 

Earlier this summer, Margaret attended a two-week camp at Clark Youth Theatre, where she was named “best actor.” “She has an amazing talent for memorizing her lines (and everyone else’s),” said Heather Hope-Hernandez, Margaret’s  mom. 

Included in the Hope-Hernandez household are Tommy, a six-year-old short-haired Belgian Shepherd mix, and two cats: six-year-old Rosie and one-year-old Trixie. “Trixie doesn’t meow like a normal cat,” said Margaret. “Instead, she squeaks if she just wants to talk to you and screams if she wants attention.”

Also, a beloved part of the family home is Margaret’s grandmother, Margaret Hope, a person young Margaret looks up to, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

 

BENJAMIN PASCHAL

MOM AND DAD, ALEX AND BRIAN PASCHAL

“I really love my family. I like scary stories, and enjoy camping,” shared Benjamin Paschal (age 10). He includes soccer and tennis in his list of preferred sports. Sleepovers with his buddies and cousins, and wheeling around on his electric scooter are among his favorite activities. Hanging out with friends is time well spent, he affirmed, “because they make me laugh.”

Benjamin’s dog is a yellow-lab mix that was rescued from Turkey Mountain. “Raschal” Paschal is not only a constant companion but provides entertainment for the entire family. “He used to be able to open doors until we moved and now have knobs instead of handles,” told Benjamin. “He goes around the house and collects all of his toys into his mouth at the same time. He can usually get three, but tries to get four or more.”

Fried chicken and “any meat when it is on the bone,” are Benjamin’s perfect bite. The Tavern’s Sunday family fried-chicken night, KFC and Charleston’s barbecued ribs comprise some of his tastiest meals. 

Writing is Benjamin’s favorite subject in school, he offered, “because it is fun to write stories and fantasize about something you couldn’t really do.” He credits his fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. George, for providing knowledge that he will need in the future, “and she is awesome,” he enthuses. Benjamin also recognizes the contribution his grandparents have made to his life. “… they teach me stuff that I will need to know when I’m a grandparent.”

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