Monthly Archives: March 2013

Glen, Tina and the twinsWhen Missy and Mindy were born, our family would have something that it hadn’t had in many years…identical twins. It was very exciting!! I remember how cute they were, and how fun it was that most of us couldn’t tell them apart. Of course, their parents always could, but that’s normal I guess. For me, the problem persists. I still can’t tell them apart to this day, but being able to tell them apart isn’t the most important thing in the world. Knowing these sweet girls far outranks telling them apart for me. Missy and Mindy’s great grandmother, my grandmother was very excited to have twins in her family. I remember her smile when she held those babies. It was a special gift, and one that any grandparent would be excited about.

These cute little girl look alikes captured our attention. We were all excited to have twins in the family, and while we now have 3 sets of twins in the family, these little girls would always be the first. It was like a whole new territory. Twins are such fun for anyone who is involved with them. The challenge of trying to tell them apart, and the antics twins almost always pull, by trading places at some point or another adds to the mystery that always surrounds twins. I don’t know if Missy and Mindy ever pulled those tricks on anyone, but if they didn’t, they certainly missed out on a good chance, because they could have. I almost think they didn’t pull those tricks, because they have always seemed like the most unlikely ones to do so. If they did, I guess that will be another story.

I didn’t really know Missy and Mindy very well, even though they are my cousins…until I Grandma Byer, Mindy and Missy Grosvenorconnected with them on Facebook. I love reading their posts, and having conversations with them on messaging. They are both such sweet spirits. It’s rare to find that in people these days. They truly care about their friends, and about people in general. They strive to do what is right, and they stand for what is good and moral. I occurs to me, that I have missed out on a lot of good things during the years that I didn’t know them well.

Today is Missy and Mindy’s birthday. Happy birthday girls!! I have so enjoyed getting to know you better, and I am very glad we had Facebook to help with that. I hope your day is the very best it can be. Love you both!!

Grandma and Grandpa ByerI was talking to my Aunt Sandy yesterday, and she was telling me some things she found out about my grandparents, her mom and dad, that she had never heard before. It made me realize just what amazing people they were. And yet, you would never have heard my grandparents tell of any of the deeds they did, because they weren’t in it for the glory…they were in it because there was a need, and they couldn’t bear to let someone be in need and not help out. Even their own kids didn’t know, and they were right there!!

This was during the Great Depression, and many people found themselves out of work, and in a lot of trouble, because if you had no money, you and your family just might starve to death. During those years, many an extra mouth was fed at my grandmother’s table. It was well known to those who were homeless and broke. They would show up at the door, and as some have told it later, my grandma would simply add some more water to the soup, and a little more of what she had, usually potatoes, and pull up another chair for that stranger in need. It was an act of kindness that most of us wouldn’t dare do today, because you never know what kind of person they might be, but as I said, times were different. People…even the homeless and desperate had values and morals, they would never bite the hand that fed them, nor the hands of their family.

The kids knew about the help given to a stranger in need, but they didn’t know about the family of children, whose parents drank away the paycheck, and had nothing left for food on the table. Giving money to the parents would do no good, so my grandparents bought bags of groceries and took it over for the kids. These kids were friends of my aunt, and yet neither they nor my grandparents ever told of the secret supplies they had received, or where they came from…until just recently, when one of those kids told someone else, and my cousin overheard, how their lives had been saved by those acts of kindness. There was no public knowledge of those supplies. Those kids didn’t have to feel embarrassment or shame about what their parents did, or how they all stayed alive…because only those kids and my grandparents knew anything about it.

My grandparents didn’t have much money back then…nobody did, but they still gave to those in need!! And the real miracle here is that my grandparents and their own 9 children always had enough to eat. They never went hungry!! How can that be? The food on their table had started out as enough for the family, and then food was added as needed, but from what? They didn’t have a lot of money to buy extra to keep feeding the many people who came and went from their kitchen in those tough years, and yet somehow there was always enough. Well, I don’t know what you think, but I think God had found two people who were willing to be givers in this earth, and He partnered with them. He said, “If you are willing to give to the needy…I will provide whatever you need to meet their needs!” Yes, my grandparents were known for their acts of kindness…all the way up to Heaven!!

Caryn, Caryl, and CherylSo much has changed since I was a kid, or even a young mother. No, I’m not talking about walking 5 miles to school in the snow uphill both ways…mostly because that was a story that belonged to my dad…who assured us that it was exactly what he did. I’m talking about the way people discipline…or often, don’t discipline their kids. It’s not exactly the fault of the parent that doesn’t discipline either, because these days disciplining your child is a step most young parents take with great apprehension, and who can blame them. Years ago, some idiot who had no kids, decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to spank your kids…probably because they got spanked and didn’t like it, but since they don’teven have kids, they shouldn’t tell the rest of us how to discipline our kids.

I’m very much against child abuse, or the abuse of anyone for that matter, but a correctly administered spanking is simply not abuse…it is a show of love. A child who is given no boundaries, doesn’t feel loved. Imagine putting your one year old on the roof of a building with nothing to stop them from falling off and walking away. Are you showing love? No, you are showing them that you don’t care about them.

Well, I can tell you that my parents loved me!! And I can tell you that my girls know they are loved too. And we knew the rules, though I can’t say that we always kept them…but after the spanking, we wished we had. I never liked spanking the girls in public, because it wasn’t about embarrassing them, it was about disciplining them, but the public restroom worked very nicely. Everyone might have known what was about to happen, but the girls had time to compose themselves before they had to face the world again.

Still, there was one way to discipline your child in public and only you and your child knew it, which could be very funny. There is a place at that spot where your neck connects to your shoulder, that can be very painful if pinched. No you don’t have to leave a mark, just give that skin a good squeeze. Your child will let out a yelp and may start crying, like my daughter did, right in the middle of a store, but after she dropped to the floor crying, and I walked on down the isle, she looked up and found everyone staring at her wondering if she was crazy, she decided that I had won that battle. Throwing a fit when no one can You Stepped On My Toesee what is wrong with you can be very embarrassing, and with my daughter, it only happened once. Yes, they got pinched there again if they needed it, but they took their punishment in silence, and behaved themselves afterward…not to mention going to the store became a much more peaceful time for me.

These days,I suppose many people would frown on my discipline style, which just goes to show how much things have changed, but my girls were well behaved, and I could take them anywhere. And once they know that you have ways to discipline that will fit the situation, they tend to choose not to push your buttons. The result of button pushing can be uncomfortable.

Aunt BonnieOften, when we ask about the events of someone’s life, it is amazing the seemingly little things about them, that were really big things, and yet, we did not know about them. My Aunt Bonnie is like that. There are a lot of things I knew about her, like her talent for cake decorating. She made my 25th anniversary cake, my girls wedding cakes, and so many cakes for other people. So many wedding receptions were made beautiful because of those cakes. They have endeared Aunt Bonnie to all of us for many years.

But it was not the cakes that I found out about recently, but something else…and I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me, because of the way she was with the cakes…giving them as a wedding gift to the couple. It was that years ago, when Aunt Bonnie was 13 or 14 years old, she did some volunteer work. My mom wasn’t sure exactly what the work was, because she was married and living in Wisconsin, but she thought it had to do with making phone calls and service men. I’m sure that my story will bring to light the whole story, but Mom told me that it was important work, and Aunt Bonnie was very proud of the work she did. I never knew that she had anything to do with volunteering for the USO or the Army.

As I said, my story brought out the real story, and Aunt Sandy called me to fill in the missing details. I want to thank her for her assistance in getting to the whole story. Aunt Bonnie worked in the Airforce Filter Center. Her job was to keep track of where each company of men were to pass on to their relatives. I agree that her work was very important…especially to the families of the soldiers who were deployed. I am  very Our 25th Anniversary cakeproud of my aunt’s service to our country, and to our soldiers.

Another thing I didn’t know, is that Aunt Bonnie did some acting in plays as a young lady. She was a part of a local theater group. Acting…a far cry from what I would have thought. It isn’t that I can’t see Aunt Bonnie acting, because she has so many talents, that it makes sense that acting was one of them. I would love to have seen some of the plays she was in. Who knew?? Maybe I can’t say I knew herthen, but I can say…I know her now!!

Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. She is a very special lady, and bring much joy and beauty into the lives of all who know her. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Tri-State Tornado mapAfter writing about the worst winter ever, I began to look into other severe weather that made a big impact on a lot of lives, and might possibly have had an impact on my own family. I came across a tornado on this day, March 18, 1925 that was and still is the deadliest tornado in history. This tornado touched down at 1:00pm near Ellington, Missouri, and over the next 3 1/2 hours it tore across 3 states and 219 miles, finally ending up in Outsville, Indiana at 4:30 pm, where it hit one house and then dissipated. A tornado traveling this distance is virtually unheard of, but as we all know from this even…not impossible. This tornado was an F5 on the Fujita Scale. In all, the Tri-State Tornado, as it has since been called, hit more that 19 communities in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, while making an almost straight path across the 3 states.

I don’t know if any of the 695 people who perished in the most deadly tornado in history, were related to me or not, but in studying my family history, I can say the I had family in those Griffin, Indiana ruinsareas. In all likelihood, one or more of them were related, and when I think of the horror of their last moments, whether they were related or not…well, it is beyond horrible. In Missouri, 13 people lost their lives. In Illinois, 541 people lost their lives, with 234 in Murphysboro alone, which is a record for a single community, and there were 33 deaths at the De Soto school, which was a record for such a storm, and with only bombs and explosions taking higher school tolls. In Indiana 76 people lost their lives. The numbers are not exact. Some accounts say 630 and others say 689, while still others say 695. I find that in itself sad. It is always sad when lives lost go unaccounted for. In all, there were 2,027 injuries and 15,000 homes destroyed. I have been looking over the victims lists, and some of the last names are familiar to me, but I can’t say that these people were or were not related to me. Also, the lists that I found, were not complete lists. It may take a bit of Murphysboro, Illinoisresearch to know for sure.

It doesn’t really matter whether I am related to any of the victims or not, the reality of this kind of devastation is beyond horrible. Of the 19+ communities, 5 were virtually destroyed along with more than 85 farms. I did find out that at the time of the Tri-State Tornado, my great great grandmother was living just 36 miles north of its path. One of the names might have been a cousin or nephew. Even knowing there is a possibility makes me sad. It is very hard to think about the family members of the victims who are left behind.

Coast of IrelandWe all have within our DNA, a mix of nationalities, and with that, I think most of us have a little Irish in the mix. I know that in my own roots, you would find Irish ancestors from both sides, and I’m pretty sure Bob’s family is the same. A short time after my grandfather passed away, my grandfather and her sisters and brothers had the opportunity to travel back to Ireland to see the old country and meet some of the family from Ireland. It would be a trip she would remember for the rest of her life. She got to see the castles, kiss the Blarney Stone, and see the green, green hillsides.  She got to see where all tradition started. I wish I could have gone along with her. What a trip that would have been.Corrie & Amy Schulenberg

While I have never been to Ireland, I do have something in my own life that in name only gets its roots from Ireland…Irish Twins. What, you might ask are Irish Twins? Irish Twins are siblings born either in the same year or within 12 months of each other. My daughters, Corrie and Amy were born 11 months apart. My guess is that you know some of these yourself. I know that I have cousins who are also Irish Twins. In fact, my cousins. Susie and George are Irish Twins. While Irish Twins may not have any real ties to Ireland, it is something that I think is very cool.

So, today we celebrate that bit o’ the old country that most likely resides in each of us. Whether you Pucker Upparty at the pub, drinking green beer, or make sure that you are wearing something green, so as not to be pinched, most of us will celebrate the day in one way or another.  It’s not that it is what we would consider a big holiday, but rather a fun holiday…one for goofiness, partying, and as my younger Irish Twin would say, a day to “Kiss me…I’m Irish.” It began however as a Christian holiday. It is also an Irish holiday. So how are the two related? Well, St Patrick’s Day was the day that Christianity came to Ireland…so maybe it should be a bigger holiday that we have made it. So, however you choose to celebrate it, I just want to tell everyone Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

Eric In Motocross GearWhen you have known someone all their life, it is easy to think of them always as a kid. Then one day you find yourself startled to find that they are all grown up, and while you were around them all their lives, you feel a bit like you don’t them at all. That is how I feel about my nephew, Eric sometimes. When Eric was a baby, my daughter, Amy babysat him and his brother, JD, so I saw a lot of them. Eric was a cuddler, and when we were in church, he would just snuggle up and go to sleep. He was such a good baby. I loved holding him when he was sleeping. Sleeping babies are always so sweet to watch…like little angels.

I don’t suppose most people would use the term angel for Eric any more, as I think he can be Little Familyquite a teaser these days. During his years of growing up, Eric’s interests turned to things like BMX bikes, motorcycles, cars, and of course, girls. Eventually there would be just two girls in his life, and that’s just perfect if you ask me. He found and married his sweet wife, Ashley and they have a beautiful daughter, Reagan, who looks a whole lot like her daddy.

I guess you could say that Eric’s life has made a few twists and turns. He went from being a little snuggler to tearing up the track to a different kind of snuggling, and finally to a different kind of tearing up and a different kind of building. Eric and his wife, Ashley are in the midst of remodeling the house they bought next door to her parents place, so Ashley can be near her beloved horses, among other things. Ashley calls the remodeling job “building the Building the Dreamdream” and I think she is right. Eric and Ashley have a dream life, living out in the country, near her horses, with plenty of places for Eric to ride his motorcycle, and plenty of room for their daughter Reagan to run and play, and sometime in the future, to get Reagan a little brother or sister to play with.

Today is Eric’s birthday. I hope you’ll take a little time off from the building to play today Eric, but if not, I guess you’ll be doing what you love anyway…building the dream. Happy birthday Eric!! We love you!! Have a wonderful day!!

New Cut, So CuteThere are people out there, who are just always happy. My niece Kellie is like that. Things just don’t get under her skin, like they do for most of us. I guess there just isn’t room for bothersome things with Kellie, because silliness and giggles live there. Don’t get me wrong, Kellie is a hard worker, and she can be serious if the situation warrants it, but she much prefers to be funny. She loves to make people laugh, and what better trait to have than that. Of course, Kellie comes by it honestly. Her whole family is like that. The girls have nicknames for each other, like Jeff for Jessi, and Lance for Lindsay. And their mom, my sister has nicknames for the kids too, like Baby Jessi (which she still is called today) Squirrel (which Lindsay is also still called), the boy (for Ryan, of course), and Pretty, Teeny, Sweet, and Little (which definitely doesn’t fit Kellie now, as the tallest girl). And Kellie also has a nickname from her sister-in-law, Chelsea…Keeker, which I think is quite cute too. And Kellie makes sure she gets in on the nicknames too, because since Captainette Americaseveral of us are on the short side, and she is tall, we have been dubbed the wee ones.

As I have said, Kellie is tall. She is actually 5’11” tall. When she was in high school, and playing basketball, her coach used to say that she was 6 feet tall, as a way of intimidation for the other team. Well, as I said, Kellie likes to laugh, and that always struck her as very funny, so she would be out on the court, playing, and she couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, the coach had a different plan in mind for Kellie. When he said that she was 6 feet tall, he was envisioning a mean looking player that would scare the socks off the other team. Kellie was a good player, but she didn’t have a mean or intimidating bone in her body, so he tried to help make that happen…by yelling out to her, “Kellie! Stop smiling!” Now telling Kellie to stop laughing or smiling, is like telling her to stop breathing. It just wasn’t going to happen.

And Kellie had the same problems in her gym class. She just can’t stop laughing. Kellie & EthanOne time in gym class, the teacher heard the normal bout of laughter, and of course, knew exactly who was doing the laughing. The teacher yelled out, “Kellie! Shut up!” Suddenly, there was silence in the room…pretty unexpected I’m sure. Then, out of the silence, someone said, “Kellie isn’t here today.” Now I don’t know about you, but I would have totally lost it right about then…as I’m quite sure the rest of the class did. I would have loved to see the teacher’s face right then too. Hahahahahaha!! Classic!!! Today is Kellie’s birthday!! And just as soon as I stop laughing, I’m going to tell her happy birthday. Love you Kellie!! Happy birthday, and have a great day!! And…don’t be so serious…smile sometimes!!! Hahahahahahaha!!!

FlyingHay RunA few days ago, my father-in-law received a phone message from an old family friend. She was calling to wish my mother-in-law a belated happy birthday, and to ask my father-in-law what he remembered about the 1949 blizzard in reference to Colstrip, Montana.  Since my father-in-law was in the hospital at the time, I called her back and told her that I would have him call her. Meanwhile, my own interest was peaked about this blizzard, of which I had been totally unaware prior to this call. I got on the Internet and did some searching of my own, and I was quite surprised at what I found.

The 1949 blizzard began on January 2, 1949, and it was soon to be called the “worst winter ever” by anyone who had the misfortune to go through it. The storm roared across several states, and was actually a series of storms that raged on until February 22, and dumped between 50 and 60 inches of snow, depending on where you were. It put a whole lot of people, especially farmers and ranchers in dire straits. Before long everyone knew that something was going to have to be done. Emergency flights of supplies began bringing everything from food to hay to the desperate people in the area. Snow plows pushed through in an effort to get truckloads of hay into the ranchers. Still, it would not be enough to stop the massive loss of livestock that the coming spring would reveal, not to mention the 235 people across several states who lost their lives. My father-in-law told me that the cows tried to stay above the snow by walking on it as it fell. When the snow got very deep, the cows ended up walking above the trees. Then the weight of their bodies caused them to fall through the snow and into the tree tops, where the were trapped and died of starvation. Some ranchers lost entire herds of cattle, either to falling through the tree tops, or being buried alive. My father-in-law told me that the spring brought a horrible sight. Dead cattle hanging in the trees…everywhere.

Transportation came to a standstill too. Before long trains were unable to move forward, and became buried in the snow, right where they stood. When the tracks were finally cleared, the snow would stand as much as 18 feet high beside them. I’m quite sure it was an eerie sight when the trains finally began to move again, because the piled snow was much higher than the trains, and so prevented any view from the train. Not that it mattered much, because there was nothing but snow to see anyway. I can imagine that if a person was at all claustrophobic, however, the feeling that they would encounter going down that track would be almost more than they could bear.

The spring of 1949, would bring to an end, “worst winter ever” and the beginning of healing for many people. Blizzard_1949_SnowWalls_smLocomotiveRanchers would have to begin again. Their herds would have to be rebuilt, and it would take much time and a lot of work. I can imagine that the flooding from all that snow was devastating too. Still, healing would take place too. That spring was also one of beginnings, such as the beginning that is so special to my father-in-law, because on June 6, 1949 he would marry the love of his life, my mother-in-law, and so began their years of marriage…63 years and counting.

Too SexyWhen Bob and I go on trips, we usually bring back something for the kids, and now grandkids. When the grandkids were little the gift we got them was often a t-shirt with a cute saying. Through the years, we have come up with some really funny shirts. Things like “When your parents are grouchy…Call 1-800-Grandma” and “If you think I’m cute, you should see my Grandpa” just to name a couple. At first the kids were too little to read, so it was their parents who got to laugh about what the t-shirts said, but later on, when they could read, they thought the shirts were funny.

With some t-shirts, like this one, we were actually surprised that her dad allowed her to wear, but then I guess he figured she was too little for it to matter. As for me, I simply couldn’t resist a t-shirt that said “Too Sexy for my Diaper” because it was such a funny spin off of the song, “Too Sexy for my Shirt.” It’s funny how as grandparents we see things so differently than we might have for our own kids. I don’t know how I would have felt about that shirt then, but I like to think I would have felt the same way had it been given to my girls.Too Sexy II

It was so fun to bring home those silly little t-shirts for the kids. The grandma shirts were some of my favorites, and of course the too sexy shirt. My grandchildren are such a great blessing to me, and I can’t imagine life without them. I was so blessed with my girls, and then they blessed me with 4 beautiful grandchildren. They are a pleasure to be around, and they keep me young. In fact, I suppose you could say I’m having my second childhood. I don’t think I’m nearly as uptight with the grandkids as I was with my girls. Nope…we just look at things through different eyes, and I’m having the time of my life!!