Years ago, especially in the old west and during the depression years, travel wasn’t so easy, even from just one town over or across town, so quite often, holidays were mixed with weddings, just because of the convenience of it, and so that family gatherings could serve two purposes. I’m not sure if that was the reason why my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, chose Christmas Eve for their wedding day or not, but the fact that they did, made Christmas Eve just that much mor special for our family. It always seemed like that day had more sparkle and shine to me. I think it did to them too. Having the anniversary cake as part of the celebration…especially a celebration that more often included pie, was just extra.
I think of them more this time of year, even though they have been in Heaven now for 41 and 33 years, respectively. They were the only grandparents I really knew, since my dad’s dad passed before I was born, and his mom just 6 months after I was born. So, Grandma and Grandpa Byer were my only grandparents, and when they left us, it was a very sad day. Of course, we know that they are in our future now, and we will see them again, but on this their joyous wedding anniversary, we miss them even more than we normally do.
Grandma and Grandpa always made a big deal about Christmas. Even when the family got to be too big to get together on Christmas Day, they started a tradition that continues to this day…the Byer Family Christmas Party. By doing the party, and renting a hall, we could all be together at the same time. There was no way for the family, as big as it had become, to get together on Christmas Day in Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or anyone’s house, for that matter. Their nine children have grown to a family of well over 400, and the Byer Family Christmas Party continues on, in their honor. Grandpa once said to Grandma, “Mommy, look what we started.” Yes, they certainly did start something that has grown into a something big and beautiful…an amazing family. Yes, I do think about them a little more this time of year and miss them even more. Merry Christmas in Heaven Grandma and Grandpa, and all the family who has gone to Heaven before us. We can’t wait until we are all together again.
My youngest grandchild, Josh Petersen is a quiet person…with a big heart. Josh is one of those people who will do his very best to help others with anything they could need. Josh is a hard working young man, who has worked at his first job at Sanford’s Grub and Pub for over six years now, having started when he was just 15 years old. He has worked his way up from dishwasher to kitchen manager, and he is well liked by all of his coworkers. Josh also works for All Out Fire, servicing fire extinguishers, a job I find interesting, although I have never seen him actually do that job. Josh is a loyal worker, and works hard not to miss a day, although Covid did hinder that plan.
This past year has definitely been Josh’s best year yet. In January, he and his best friend, Athena Ramirez realized that after knowing each other since they were in elementary school, this was going to be their forever love. They are so happy together, and we are so happy for them. They really are perfect for each other, and I have never seen Josh happier. They had been friends for a long time, but they rekindled the friendship when the both started working at Sanford’s grub and Pub together. Nothing makes me happier than to see Josh and Athena together. They are just so cute together.
Josh has very little time to spend on his own pastimes, because when he is not working at one job, he is working at the other. Josh has very few days off, but I guess that’s one way to stay out of trouble…right!! Hahahaha!! Just kidding. Josh is a great young man, and I am very proud of him. He is good to his parents and grandparents, and helps out whenever he is able to. I am especially proud of how good he is to his parents. They don’t get to spend much time together, but when they do, they all make it quality time.
In addition to Athena, Josh has another girl he loves very much…his cat, Pip. The good news is that Athena isn’t jealous of Josh’s other girl. In fact, Pip loves Athena and Athena loves Pip. If there are going to be two girls in a guy’s life it helps if the girls love each other. Cats are usually so cuddly, that having one in the house gives you an instant cuddler. That’s the nice thing about having a cat. I’m so glad that everything is looking great in Josh’s world. Today is Josh’s 23rd birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My son-in-law, Kevin Petersen is slowly working on a couple of projects. His health issues make it difficult, but he does his best to push through it. He has a van that he is converting into a camper, because he and my daughter, Corrie Petersen love to go camping, especially on Casper Mountain, near their home here in the Casper area. To do that, they don’t need much really, just a bed and a few other necessities. They love sitting around a campfire and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature as only camping can supply.
Kevin also has a Cyclone that his dad gave him, and he has been working on restoring it when he feels up to it. It gives him someplace to go while my daughter is studying for her nursing school classes. That project is a particular treasure of his, because it belonged to his dad, Dean Petersen, and his dad loves to see the progress Kevin is making on the old car.
While Kevin and Corrie’s boys, Chris and Josh Petersen are both very busy people, they try to make time for their parents as much as possible. With all the studying Corrie has to do, Kevin is often the recipient of the time the boys have. With his parents retired, Kevin is able to spend time with his dad and his mom, Becky Skelton. I know that has been a blessing to both of his parents. They often run errands together, as well as just sitting and talking. Kevin and Corrie also love being grandparents, and time with granddaughter, Cambree (3 years old) and grandson, Caysen (9 months old) is absolutely precious.
Kevin is such a great support “team,” for lack of a better word, since a team indicates more than one person, for Corrie as she continues her nursing studies, and also works as a cna at Wyoming Medical Center. Kevin does all the cooking and much of the other household chores, so Corrie can focus on her studies, and that has been a huge help to her. While the chores are difficult for Kevin, he know that every effort he puts forth takes some of the load off of Corrie, and that she will be forever grateful, as am I. Nursing School is probably the hardest thing Corrie, or any other nursing student has ever done, and it doesn’t leave much time for household chores or cooking. Plus, Kevin is an awesome cook, so Corrie has benefitted from his nutritious meals. And she is grateful to him for taking such good care of her. Today is Kevin’s 50th birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Whenever I have to say goodbye to someone…no matter what the reason, I find myself thinking about how hard it is to say goodbye. It doesn’t matter if it is because of a death or because of a long parting. It’s just hard. My husband, Bob Schulenberg and I spent the last two weeks visiting with our daughter, Amy Royce and her family, and the goodbyes, which started Sunday night and continued to Monday morning, when we actually left to head home we’re tear-filled and full of heartache. You would think that I would be used to these goodbyes, but the fact is that you never get used to the goodbyes. Every goodbye includes a little bit of mourning.
Every time I think of Amy’s family, if feel a little sadness, because there is so much I miss and so much I miss out on. I’m happy that they are happy where they are, but sad for us. I have known that Amy wanted to live near the ocean, from the time she graduated from high school. That was hard, and I’m thankful that they waited until their kids were grown, so that I could be close to Shai and Caalab. Now they all have careers they love, and the girls are even insurance agents, just like I was. My grandson, Caalab has found the love of his life there. We all love Chloe Foster so much. And we couldn’t be happier about their relationship. The whole family is all happy there, and that is what matters. Amy hated the winters here, and sometimes, I can fully understand that. They can be brutal. The climate in western Washington is much milder.
Nevertheless, it is just so hard to say goodbye and leave them there…so far away. We love to go for visits, and we always have such a great time. In Washington, we can do so many things that we can’t do in Wyoming. They have taken us on whale watching tours, and harbor cruises. We like to go to the beaches, and sometimes the cities too, but the congestion in the roads is not so fun. In Wyoming, we have wide open spaces and a beauty of a different kind. We have the ease of life that comes from living in a less populated state. I could go on and on about the differences, pluses, and minuses of each state, but the reality is that half my family is in Washington and half is in Wyoming, and every time the two halves meet, there is a goodbye that follows. It is never easy to say goodbye. In fact it is just so hard to say goodbye, and I really hate goodbyes. I always will, but I love my family, and I will always accept the goodbyes, if it means getting to see them. That’s all that matters. Seeing my kids.
My grandson, Caalab Royce is such an upbeat kind of guy. He has a great sense of humor, and loves to make people laugh. I remember when his was just a little boy. He could tell a joke, and never forget the punchline. There are many adults who can’t recall the punchline of a joke, but the joke always made sense to Caalab, so the punchline just naturally followed, and anyone within hearing distance couldn’t help but laugh. I truly think he could have been a comedian, but then, I guess he is. He just doesn’t get paid for it, and lets face it, that is a field you can’t really count on anyway. The comedians on this day, will be gone tomorrow, because their particular sense of humor is no longer thought to be as funny as it was yesterday. Better to be a jokester, because you can tell the jokes of the day with ease, and you always get the laughs.
As a little boy, one of the funniest things Caalab said was, “I’m older than you.” He was just a little guy, but he knew the “importance” of being a grown up. The funny thing is that like most men, I don’t think Caalab has ever really grown up. I don’t mean to say that he acts childish, but men who have never lost the idea of the funny side of life is a big part of what I mean when I say that they have never grown up. Caalab, wasn’t really wanting to be grown up, but it was more like trying to make people laugh. It worked with me, but not so much with his big sister, who as a Leap Day Baby was technically younger than her younger brother. “I’m older than you” was his way of picking on his sister, and she was not amused, hahaha!!
Caalab loves music, and plays the guitar with his dad, Travis Royce often. In fact it is a family band kind of thing, and I love hearing them play and look forward to hearing it again when we visit later this summer. Caalab is quite talented, something he got from his dad, Travis, who also plays the guitar. I don’t think his dad ever took lessons, but Caalab loved the guitar so much that he took it is high school. He was very good then too. These days, Caalab and his dad, along with his sister Shai, who is learning the Mandolin, play for family and friends…all of whom feel very privileged to be in the audience. The family often has family sing-a-longs on family night, which is wonderful to attend.
Caalab grew into a great young man, and I am very proud of him. He and the rest of my daughter, Amy Royce’s family live in the Bellingham area of Washington state, and I miss them all very much. Caalab has a wonderful girlfriend named Chloe Foster, who is so perfect for him. She has endeared herself not only to Caalab, but to the rest of our family too. They are just perfect together, and that makes me very happy. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two precious kids. I love watching how my grandchildren have grown and how they are becoming their best selves. Caalab will always be the best comedian among my grandchildren. It’s just in his nature. Today is Caalab’s 24th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My little great grand-nephew, Max Herr is turning one year old today, and he has has a very busy year. Of course, he has done many of the normal baby things like rolling over, sitting up, and clapping his hands. He also says DaDa, has teeth, loves his bath, snuggling with his mommy, Katy Balcerzak, and hanging with his daddy, Dylan Herr. Max has a great smile that lights up his whole face, and his laugh is infectious. He delights in everything new to him…which is everything, so he is always very excited about things he sees and does.
Max has had a number of wonderful adventures in his first year of life. His family took a trip to Red Wing, Minnesota; Casper, Wyoming; sunny Florida; the Ice Castles in Dillon, Colorado; the Botanic Gardens in Denver; and they they moved from Brighton, Colorado to Casper, Wyoming. Max had a great time celebrating all the holidays for the very first time. All in all, Max is finding out just how great this celebration called life is.
For Katy and Dylan, things have changed dramatically. They now have a new boss, because when it comes to Max…well, he is the boss, and he is getting very vocal about letting them know that fact. That’s what happened when Max found his words. Dada and Mama brought his parents running, even if it was just to see what he was saying now, or what he would say next. Then as Max found out that just saying those words brought the chosen parent to him, he started saying it more and more. Of course, sometimes, the parent he wanted wasn’t in close proximity, or as in his daddy’s case, was at work, so the parent didn’t show up immediately, so Max has to say it over and over. Sadly, even the boss doesn’t get everything he wants, all the time. The good thing is that for the most part, Max is a pleasant “boss” to work for. Every time his parents respond to his calls, he presents them not with a grouchy face “barking” orders, but a smiley face, that melts their hearts. No wonder he gets to be the boss. I think that if your boss has a face like this little guy, you would be putty in his hands too. Today is Max’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Max!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
We all have them. Days when we really miss a loved one who has passed away or even a love one who lives far away. These are days when thoughts of our mom, dad, spouse, sibling, child, grandparent, or even great grandparent, so fill our minds that it brings us to tears. We push through the sadness and try not to let the tears spill over, but it is so hard, because our heart has a mind of its own sometimes, and those tears just won’t listen to our pleas to stop. Reaching out to others does little to help us, and even posting on social media doesn’t help, because it is our own sadness, our own sorrow, and we have to live it alone. Truly, our only help comes from God, who sees our every tear, and has sent the Comforter to us for just such a time as this.
The thing is that we know where our love one is, and that they are happy, but that doesn’t make it easier for us to move out of our own sadness, because the true sadness of losing someone is not sadness for them, but rather for us. And for those who know someone who is going through this sadness, there is a feeling of helplessness. We love the grieving family member or friend, but we don’t have the words or the ability to make it better for them. All we can do is to pray over them and let them know we love them, and hope it is enough to ease their pain. Of course, for many of us, their pain is shared by us because we love both them and their loved one.
No matter how painful those “miss you” days are, we must understand that they are also important, because we would never want to forget our loved ones. Their memory, while painful considering the loss, is so important considering our love for them. Unfortunately, once a loved one is in Heaven you can’t have one kind on memory without the other kind.
Missing the loved on who lives far away is different, but when you suddenly realize that it has been a year since you saw that parent, grandparent, sibling, or child, your heart goes through that same pain and sadness. The heart somehow doesn’t fully understand the difference between a loved one being in Heaven and a loved on being across the country. Yes, the heart understands that the one who lives far away will be seen again on Earth, but it still feels that pain of missing that loved one terribly…especially when you had lived so close before, even in the same house. The heart just doesn’t totally understand the feeling, it just knows that it is painful, and it brings those dreaded tears. It’s all a part of “miss you” days.
Sometimes, you can know someone, but there are parts of them that can still surprise you. My younger daughter, Amy Royce is just like that. When she lived here is Casper, Wyoming, she wasn’t really much of a gardener, but now, in Ferndale, Washington, she suddenly has a green thumb. She grows the most beautiful flowers. Her yard would be the envy of any gardener here in Wyoming, because we just don’t have the right climate for the kinds of flowers she can grow. Suddenly, Amy has Calla Lilies, Bleeding Hearts, Day Lilies, Peonies, and so many other flowers. Her yard is beautiful. She says she couldn’t get things to grow in Casper, and I get that. She and her husband, Travis recently set up a fountain and pond in their yard. I don’t know if they will add fish to the pond, but it is beautiful anyway. I really never pictured Amy as a gardener, so that has surprised me…in a good way.
Amy, the insurance agent/account manager doesn’t surprise me one bit. She was an excellent agent when we both worked at The Stengel Agency, and we really hated to lose her. Our loss turned out to be Rice Insurance’s gain, and Amy just received an award for five years of service, where she is their largest account holder, and she has the privilege of working with her daughter, Shai Royce. I know how wonderful that can be, as I have been able to work with my daughter and my granddaughter. That is uncommon unless you are working in a family business, which we weren’t…it just felt like a family business.
I can’t say that I am totally surprised at just how much Amy loves the Ferndale/Bellingham area of Washington state. The weather there is milder, and Amy really doesn’t like the cold and wind in Wyoming. The rain forests of Washington have appealed to her since the first time she visited there after her high school graduation. For Amy, that trip sealed the deal, even if she didn’t move there until her children were grown, which was mostly for me, I know. I wanted to be close to my grandchildren, Shai and Caalab, and I will always be grateful that Amy and Travis gave that privilege before they all moved. In reality, I can’t think of a prettier place to go visit, and, we probably would go as often as we do if they didn’t live there.
For Amy, living near the water, be it a lake, the Puget Sound, Birch Bay, or the Pacific Ocean (when they take a weekend trip to the coast), is like a slice of Heaven. She loves the water, the lighthouses, the whales, the dolphins, starfish (especially the purple ones), and even the seagulls. She loves to go on whale watching tours, and of course, the casinos…not that Amy and Travis are huge gamblers, but they do seem to have some pretty good winnings on occasion. The beach is one of Amy’s Happy Places and you just can’t deny your child a happy place. I can’t think of a nicer happy place to have. Today is Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday my sweet daughter!! Have a great day!! We love you very much!!
Whether they intend to or not, kids sometimes resemble the things we all know from commercials. Such is the case with my great grand-nephew, Jaxx Harman. Jaxx is the youngest child and only boy of my grand-nephew, Jake Harman and his wife Melanie, and Jaxx is all boy. He may have been growing up around two sisters, but that has not influenced him one bit. Jaxx loves to wrestle and fight, but never hurts his sisters, Alice and Izabella…at least not intentionally. His mom says he is like the sour patch kids…first they are sour, and then they are sweet. I don’t know about the sour side, because whenever I see Jaxx, I see his sweet side. I suppose as his great grand-aunt, he figures that he can’t really pick on me too much. He might be surprised if he tried, because I’m a great tickler!!
Jaxx absolutely loves Scooby Doo and he can recite and sing along with quite a bit of it. It’s amazing how much of something fun a child can quickly memorize, and how hard schoolwork seems to be. Maybe we need to add the cartoons to the schoolwork. I’ll bet lots of kids would memorize their lessons very quickly. And speaking of schoolwork, Jaxx just finished his first year of preschool, and he did very well. He even received an achievement award from his teacher. Jaxx loves going to school, probably because it makes him feel grow up, like his big sisters. It’s hard to be the youngest child. They always have to watch their older siblings get to go to school and to parties and to friends houses, and they don’t get to go. They always feel somewhat like the baby, at least in their childhood years. That situation is helped when they finally get to go to school too. For Jaxx that was this past school year, and he was very happy to be going.
Jaxx is such a happy, smiling boy. He loves playing with his big sisters, and they try to indulge his boy side as much as they can. That said, the girls must be pretty good wrestlers too, because I’ve seen videos of their playtime, and the can hold their own. Of course, Jaxx loves his sisters very much, and he would never hurt them either. He’s too much a gentleman…or maybe he’s the sweet side of the sour patch kids…for that. Today is Jaxx’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Jaxx!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandson, Caalab Royce’s girlfriend, Chloe Foster is an all around sweet girl, making it easy to see why he loves her. Chloe is a family girl and a loving Aunty to Levi, Callie, and Aiden, all of whom love her to pieces!! For Chloe, becoming and aunt was one of the “epic” moments in her life. I totally get that, because babies are just amazing, and each is a blessing beyond measure. Chloe is a blessing to her family too. She loves her mom, Jeri; dad, Craig; brothers, Tyson and Tanner; sister in law, Alicia, and of course, those babies. Chloe’s relationship with my grandson, Caalab has brought a great blessing to Caalab’s family too, my son-in-law, Travis Royce; daughter, Amy Royce; and granddaughter, Shai Royce have gained new friends, and really extended family members in the Fosters. It’s a win/win for both of these families!! I love the combining of two families, and Chloe is a great connector for this one.
Chloe has been keeping a low profile…mostly by force, as the state of Washington is still under Covid restrictions, but staying home did give her more study time. Chloe is working toward a degree in Forensic Psychology. Yesterday, she started a new course for the summer semester. She tells me that school and working is a lot to take on, but my sweet grandson is very supportive, and she says it makes it a little bit easier to handle. Plus, I know that my grandson can cook, so I expect that he is sharing or taking over that job from Chloe to give her time to study. Chloe works as a supervisor at Starbucks, and really enjoys the job and the people she works with. Her job comes with the usual perks, of free coffee, so what else could she ask for. Hahahahaha!! Not a reason to take a job, but it doesn’t hurt.
Chloe is so thoughtful. She is always doing little things to brighten the day of those around her. Her parents have often been the recipients of her humorous and sweet sides. Now, Caalab’s family is too. She is a blessing to all who know her. Chloe has artistic abilities too. I don’t know how I could be associated with so many talented, artistic people, and not have an artistic bone in my body, but that has been what I’ve seen. Chloe enjoys painting, and when she met Caalab, who loves Bob Marley, Chloe set out painting a Bob Marley picture for him. She did an amazing job, and Caalab was so pleased!! She also did a painting of her little niece, Callie that is amazing too. Such wonderful talent!! I love it!! Chloe truly is a blessing. Today is Chloe’s birthday. Happy birthday Chloe!! Have an awesome day!! We love you!!