Monthly Archives: May 2013

MomTo be given a mom who is wonderful and sweet is a great blessing indeed, but to be blessed with two of them is twice as nice. Of course, I don’t have two moms exactly, but I have a mom and mother-in-law, and both of them are wonderful and very sweet. They are different in their ways, and really always have been, they are nevertheless the same in many ways. My mom always lived in town, my mother-in-law was a country girl most of her life, and each one probably wouldn’t have changed that for anything. I suppose that the way you are raised has a lot to do with it, since each of them continued to live the same way they were raised for at least most of their lives.

In many ways, their two very different lifestyles have enriched my life twice as much. I had canned vegetables or made jelly, but never had any real part in growing the vegetables or fruits. My mother-in-law really knew no other way. While growing a garden and canning are not things a still do in today’s busy lifestyle, it is nevertheless something I could do if I needed to. And while my mom didn’t grow vegetables, she had and still has some of the most beautiful flower gardens around.

Living in the country made participation in sports more difficult, due mainly to the distances that must be traveled, when a bus could have brought the kids home without the extra Mom Schulenberggas needed for the trip. Living in town made it easy to participate in sports. It isn’t that sports is always important, but there are other activities that I would have missed and I know my kids would have missed.

My life is probably very little like the lives of either my mom or my mother-in-law, mostly because of the changing times we live in, but I think that the influences of these two wonderful women have made my life twice as nice, and with the passing last Sunday of my father-in-law, and my dad going on 6 years ago now, they are more precious to me than ever. Happy Mothers Day to my two moms. I hope your day is as beautiful as you are.

Cheryl getting ready to kiss CarynThere is something to be said for a person that you can count on no matter what.  From the time you were just little and no matter how many little fights you had, they were there. That is exactly the way I feel about my big sister, Cheryl. No matter what went on, if somebody picked on her little sister, they had Cheryl to answer to. The funny thing about that is that Cheryl is only five feet tall…not your typical tough guy. Still, when that little girl, who was my big sister,  got in somebody’s face about picking on her little sister, they felt at the very least a twinge of fear.

Of course, that is not the Cheryl we all know and love today, mainly because there is no need to protect her little sisters now, although she would if necessary. Cheryl is one of the kindest, sweetest, most loving people I know. Her family means more to her than anything on earth. They are the people who she most wants to hang out with. Each new baby is her pride and joy, and they all know that their grandma is a softie when it comes to them, but that is how grandmas are supposed to be.

As our lives go on, I find myself more and more proud of all of Cheryl’s accomplishments. She has worked hard at her career as a legal secretary, and her knowledge has been very Jenny, Cheryl, and Aleesiahelpful to our family in many ways. And she is an invaluable help to her boss, who would be lost without her, I’m sure.

When I look back on my life, and how much my sister has enriched it with her loving ways, I almost feel overwhelmed by the blessing she has been to me. We have been through good times, bad times, and horrible times together, and I know I wouldn’t have wanted to take my life’s journey without her being a big part of it. Cheryl is the best big sister in the entire universe, and I am so blessed that she is mine. Today is Cheryl’s birthday!! Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a wonderful day!! We all love you very much!!

Josh Receiving the Presidential Education Award 5-9-13Yesterday, was the awards ceremony at Josh, my grandson’s school. My daughter and her husband attended, because they were told that Josh would be receiving an award. Little did they know what the day would hold for them. The point in the program for Josh’s award came. Four students were called forward, but no award was announced. When the four students were assembled on stage, the award was finally announced. My daughter, Corrie and my son-in-law, Kevin were stunned. The award was the Presidential Education Award for Outstanding Achievement!!

Now, Corrie and Kevin knew what this award was, but I did not. This award is BIG!! Here is what I have learned about this award. While there is no limit to how many students can receive the Presidential Education Award for Outstanding Achievement, their are specific requirements that must be met in order to receive the award. The purpose of this award is to recognize students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment to or intellectual development in their academic subjects. This award is given at the principal’s discretion based on the criteria developed at the school. The criteria should reflect the purpose of the award and must be applied fairly to all students. These are examples of the criteria for which the Josh Letter-Award-Pin 5-9-13President’s Award for Educational Achievement may be presented: Show tremendous growth but not meet all the criteria for the President’s Award for Educational Excellence; Demonstrate unusual commitment to learning in academics despite various obstacles; Maintain a school record that would have met the school’s selection criteria for the President’s Award for Educational Excellence but illness, personal crisis, or special needs prevented the student from maintaining such high standards despite hard work; Achieve high scores or show outstanding growth, improvement, commitment to or intellectual development in particular subjects, such as English, math, science, etc; Demonstrate achievement in the arts such as music or theater.

School has not always been easy for Josh. He was born 5 weeks prematurely, and learning disabilities are common in premature babies. While Josh’s struggles could have been more severe, they nevertheless made hard work a requirement to achieve his high marks. We could not be more proud of his hard work and his achievements!! Included in his award Josh & his Presidents Education Award 5-9-13Josh and his White House Letter and Pin 5-9-13were the Presidential Education Award pin, the Certificate of the Award, and a Congratulatory Letter from the President.

This award came as such a surprise to all of us, even though we all knew that Josh had worked very hard to excel in school. We simply couldn’t be more proud than we are at this moment. Congratulations Josh!! You are growing up so fast, and proving your abilities in so many areas of life. We love you very much, and we are so very proud of all that you have accomplished!!

 

Love that babyEveryone thinks of boys and men being all tough and macho…at least when it comes to emotions, but that really isn’t always the case. In my experience, the fastest way to turn a guy from tough and macho to mush is a girl. Yes, girlfriends and wives will bring that out in a man, but the thing that really melts my heart is watching a man with his daughter or a boy with his baby sister. They just lose all that tough macho stuff, and become pretty much putty in her hands…living the rest of their lives wrapped around her baby finger, because she is quite simply their baby girl…their princess…their little darling…their everything.

The future will bring many frustrating times. She will be rebellious and argumentative. She will fight with them and annoy them. She will want to start dating My Girland going out with friends, leaving her poor daddy to sit up, just waiting for her to get home, and then waking up after a late night to go to work, whether he feels like it or not. Her clothes will cost more than he ever dreamed, because obviously a girl can’t have too many outfits…or shoes. And yet, somehow all that doesn’t really matter, because she is their girl. They feel that protective instinct kick in. She is fragile and tiny, and they want to make sure nothing ever hurts their little girl.

It’s funny how even little boys can tell that their is something very different about this new baby. You have to be more careful and gentle than with a brother. For her…and no one else, they will change their play from rough and tumble to girly things…and Lovin'Sissyyou had better never tell anyone about it! She is simply special. She can make her brother play house…and have fun. She can make him stop running around…and run to pick up her dropped toy, without even trying. All they want to do is make her happy. They will turn into a clown, making little faces at her just to get a smile. And yes, they will hug and kiss this girl…at least for now, because we all know that at some point in a boys life, he figures out that even his sister can have cooties, and then for a time, she might have to realize that she is temporarily contagious. But then again, maybe she always was. Maybe the contagion has just changed a little bit…from “I love my girl” to “Girls have Cooties” and back again, because she will always be their girl.

A True HelperBoys and machines, the two seem to just naturally go together. When their dads or grandpas use those machines, little boys become very intrigued, and since their dad or grandpa is the coolest guy they know, they want to be just like him. As soon as they can talk them into allowing it, those little boys are helping their dad or grandpa to do that all important work. Obviously, there are times when those little boys are less help than hindrance, but sometimes, as is the case with the Hydraulic Wood Splitter, those little boys can be very helpful.

When my nephew, Barry was a little boy, his grandpa, my father-in-law, had a very large woodpile. Much of the heat in the family home came from the wood burning stove. Splitting wood was a continuous project. Barry always looked up to his grandpa, and he wanted nothing more than to imitate his grandpa in every way. Barry willing worked side by side with his grandpa to supply the split wood Tucker splitting woodneeded for the wood stove. There was no place he would rather be. It was that way with most of the things Barry’s grandpa did. In the eyes of that little boy, his grandpa could do no wrong; and as far as he was concerned, there was nothing his grandpa couldn’t do, and really, isn’t that the way it should be.

Barry is grown now and, while he still splits wood with his uncles, Bob and Ron. They all run the splitter, if necessary, but whenever he is available, they have a new main operator. Tucker, Ron’s step-son, has taken a great interest in the wood splitter. Tucker likes helping his dad do just about anything he is doing, but running the wood splitter is by far his favorite work. Like most little boys, if it involves machinery, he’s there. And, like Barry, this next generation wood splitter will most likely continue to enjoy splitting wood for years to come.

Masters DegreeCollege graduation means the end of all the years of schooling, and the beginning of the rest of your life. Now it’s time to set out set out and find that perfect job to get your career moving in the right direction. That’s supposed to be the next step right? Right, but what about when there is something else that steps in and demands all the attention first. My niece, Lindsay graduated from South Dakota State University on Saturday, with a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. There are so many things she can do at this point. She once told me about all the possibilities, which were widely varied. She will have the ability to go into a wide range of careers…just from one degree. I am very proud of Lindsay’s accomplishments.
The Happy Couple
Lindsay’s graduation day was a wonderful event that took a tiny, unexpected turn. In front of her family, all of whom were very pleased, Lindsay’s boyfriend, Shannon asked for her hand in marriage. It is a rare event, when the future bride’s family gets to witness the proposal, but this was to be one of those special proposals. I can imagine how my future nephew’s heart was pounding, because even though they have been dating for a long time now, this is a big step, and he wanted it to be perfect. He wanted to ask Lindsay in exactly the right way…the perfect proposal. When Lindsay said yes…Shannon’s heart was really pounding, but then, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
The Ring
Lindsay’s college graduation party was transformed from a graduation party to a very special graduation/engagement party. The celebration that followed was made extra special because while graduation is the end of schooling and the beginning of life; engagements are always the beginning of something. It is the beginning of a new life…one as a couple instead of an individual. Their love is now moving on to the next level…the happily ever after level. The journey ahead is yet to be planned. Like the wedding day, it is theirs to build into the perfect life for them. Congratulations of your engagement,Lindsay and Shannon!! May God richly bless your life together. We love you very much!!

Dad SchulenbergYesterday, my dear father-in-law passed away. It was a hard day for all of us. I have been thinking back over the years that I have been a part of this family. There were so many good memories. I will never forget the first time I met my future in-laws. There is no easy way to meet your boyfriend’s parents. You are simply a nervous wreck. We were going out to their house for dinner, and once I arrived, my father-in-law, broke the ice with his teasing ways. As so many girls who have known him can tell you, his first words were about what a “pretty girl” I was. When I blushed, he knew that I would be a good one to tease. My mother-in-law chewed him out for picking on me, but to that, my father-in-law simply grinned, and I knew I had made a new friend. By the end of the evening, I felt totally at home with my future in-laws.

This hard working man began working when he was just 13 years old. He worked at a ranch, milking cows before and after school. So began his working life, and he would be a hard working man for many years to come. While he was tough in many ways, when it came to his kids, he was a big teddy bear. His family was his life, and he had a soft heart when it came to them. All of his kids knew that they could call him whenever they needed wisdom concerning any situation. He always seemed to have an answer or at least an idea as to how to solve the problem. He had so much experience in so many areas, that often there was no need to call someone else to help. Even when they did need to call someone else, he probably knew someone who could do the job well and for less.

As for me…well, Dad always made me feel special. From that first meeting, until our last visit on Saturday night, his love for me was such a blessing. I felt so honored on the day he said, “You are no longer my daughter-in-law, you are my daughter.” I had the great privilege of taking care of this wonderful man since 2007. During that time I watched his brave struggle against the disease that would eventually take his life. He was not a man to complain, and he always hated to be a bother. Since we spent much time together these last few years, we became very close. His smile will always be in my memory. He was a man who returned the love he was given…in triplicate.

He had a team of caregivers, including his sons, Bob and Ron; his daughters Brenda, Jennifer, and Debbie, when she was in town; daughters-in-law, Rachel and me; his grandchildren, Corrie, Amy, and Barry, and Machelle, when she was in town; and great grandchildren, Chris, Shai, Caalab, and his special caregiver, Josh, who took extra special care of his great grandpa; his sister-in-law, Margee, and her granddaughter, Stasi, who did whatever we asked of them; and of course, his Joann and Waltwife, Joann, who watched over him carefully, even though she had Alzheimer’s Disease, and was unable to fully understand what was wrong. There were so many others who showed him kindness and love in these last days, and their love and kindness was not lost to him…the doctors, nurses, and aides at Wyoming Medical Center; Dr Schoeber, Dr Novick, Dr Dowell, Dr Hussieno, Dr Wilkinson, and their kind staff members; the staff at Sharon’s Home Health Care, especially Deb and Sherry; Angie, his respite caregiver; and the nurses and aides and Shepherd of the Valley nursing home, which he loving called the Sheep Herders Place…he had some good times there. I want to thank each and every one of you. Your kindness to him will never be forgotten. We love you Dad, and we’ll always miss you. 

Track 2Everyone has a talent in life…something they are very good at. Even kids excel at things, for their age group, and sometimes, well beyond their years. My grandson, Josh loves to play basketball and run in track. Earlier this year, he played in his last middle school basketball game, and today I attended his regular track meet, and most likely the last of his middle school events. It is sad really, to watch kids grow up. Those years pass by so quickly. Before you know it, they are all grown up, and out on their own. That is why I like to attend their activities whenever I can.

So, today, I watched my youngest grandson run with all Track 1his heart. He was entered in four races, and happily, he placed in four races. He placed 6th in the 400 meter race. His team took 7th in the 4 X 100 Meter Relay. He took 4th in the 800 meter race, and his team took 2nd in the 4 X 400 Meter Relay. It was a fantastic day for Josh, and I am so proud of his accomplishments.

Josh had a rocky start in life…coming 5 weeks ahead of his due date, and spending 2 weeks in Presbyterian Saint Luke’s Hospital. While there, he was given great care, ans as soon as his lungs were developed enough to put him out of danger, he came home to live with his mom, dad, and big brother, Chris. In the years that followed, there were few signs of his early Grandma with Joshstruggles left, and most definitely none in the area of his lungs or his appetite. He grew strong, and active, and before long, was proving that he was a fighter…both in life and in sports.

Josh also has a heart for caregiving, and has been instrumental in the care given to his great grandparents since 2005. I think he could easily be an EMT or Paramedic when he grows up, because that ability seems to come naturally to him. Maybe he knows that there were people who stepped in and took care of him when he needed it most, I don’t know for sure, but whatever the case, he has a talent for caring for those in need. Josh is just a loving and talented boy. He has a big heart and I’m very proud of him.

scan0052Back in the day, girls pretty much wore dresses all the time. In fact, girls wearing pants were considered…risque, loose, or maybe backward. By the mid 1900’s things had changed to a degree, and pants were ok for certain activities. Nevertheless, many girls just didn’t own pants, so they continued to wear dresses for activities we would consider it to be inappropriate to wear dresses for today.

One of those activities was horseback riding. Early on when the women started riding horses, it was considered taboo for them to straddle a horse. People really thought of them as having very low moral standards. That was when the side saddle came about. The big problem with that was that the horse had to be very well trained, because the woman had a lot less control over the horse when it was side saddle. To me, side saddle seems like it would be an extremely awkward way to ride. I think it would feel like you were hanging on a wall…much like a painting.

Then, when people moved out west, they began to leave those civilized ideas of the east scan0051editedbehind them. It was a necessity, because many of the horses were wild and then tamed, and people lived on homesteads the were a long way from their homes. And then, of course, was the fact that sometimes you had to outrun the dangers of the region, like Indians, wild animals, and outlaws. Running from danger was no time to be a lady in a side saddle…if you wanted to live, that is. Watching the old westerns, I remember thinking how funny it looked to have those long dresses draped over the back end of a horse.

Now, of course, many women rarely wear a dress at all, much less to ride a horse. Women have found that it is far more comfortable to live most of their lives in jeans, so dresses are reserved for special occasions. Nevertheless, there was a time, a very different time, when women wouldn’t have ever considered things like wearing men’s pants or straddling a horse.

Travis at a remoteMy son-in-law, Travis has always loved the world of music and radio. He is totally in his element when he is hamming it up on the radio, or at remotes that he is working. He has such a quick wit, that few people can keep up with his ability to ad lib. I suppose you could say that it is a talent born of necessity. When you are on the radio, you are basically talking to yourself for and hour or more at a time. Sure, you are talking to the audience, but they are not adding to the conversation, so you are still talking to yourself. You are then responsible to the joke and the punch line. Sure, sometimes he has a partner on air, but most of the time he doesn’t. And I’m sure that many people think that he is maybe reading a script, and I can’t say for sure that he isn’t sometimes, but being around him, off air, I can tell you that his personality…at least in the joking area, is very much like his personality on air. He is a natural comedian. I guess that is what makes him such a natural on the radio. Travis has worked at several other jobs, but none that fit him so totally, like the radio has.

Travis’ taste in music is maybe different than many people would expect of someone his age. He has always liked Rock, which is not so unusual, but for someone his age to like Blues is a bit unusual. And then, there is the fact that his all time favorite musician is Bob Marley. I have listened to a little bit of Bob Marley’s music, but as a girl who likes Gospel and Country, I guess I probably just don’t get Bob Marley’s style. And as to Blues, I never really got into that or Jazz. Travis and I can agree on Jazz, and on Opera… we both hate those!! Now if I find that I am wrong on that one, and Travis doesn’t mind, or even likes Opera…well, I’ll totally pass out.

More recently, Travis, and my daughter, Amy have found a new hobby. They discovered that they have a real interest in…wine making. I was a little surprised about that one, but my dad always liked making wine too, so I know it is fun. Some friends of theirs introduced Travis making winethem to the process of wine making a while back and each week they get together and work on new flavors and recipes. Amy and Travis haven’t had the opportunity to taste their own wine yet, and I’m quite sure the waiting isn’t easy, but wine making is not something that can be rushed. So for now they will have to be patient, and content to work on their different flavor ideas, until the day arrives when they will be able to try their creations. They have come up with so may different flavors. Flavors like  Peach, Strawberry Orange, Asian Pear, Blackberry, and Plum, are among those wine flavors they will be trying, whenever they are ready to drink. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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