Grandchildren

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My sister, Alena Stevens is in the middle of preparing for one of life’s biggest changes…grand-motherhood. The biggest life change is motherhood for sure, but grand-motherhood ranks right up there with motherhood as being one of the most special times of our lives. Alena’s son, Garrett Stevens, and his beautiful wife, Kayla are expecting their first child in August, and Alena is beyond excited…as is her husband, Mike. I know Alena is going to be an amazing grandmother. Alena’s work with children at Verda James Elementary School has kept her on top of the whole kid thing, and up to date on the latest cool stuff kids like. That’s an advantage that many grandmothers don’t have, and so they had to re-acclimate themselves to, but not Alena. The students she works with at the school love her very much and she loves them too. As her little granddaughter grows, Alena will be one of the cool grandmas, which is always a big plus.

Alena also loves to decorate, and sometimes I think she missed her calling, because the decorating she does on her home is lovely. She has a real eye for it. Most of us hang a few pictures up, and hope we made them look a little different than a picture album, but not Alena. Her flair for decorating makes her home a show piece. Maybe I should make her come and decorate mine. Alena like to change her house up periodically, to give it new life, and that could be part of the reason that it is always a showpiece. Whatever the case may be, she has a lovely home that people enjoy coming over to.

Alena is a summer girl, which makes her June birthday the perfect time of year.While no officially born in the summer, it marks the beginning of what most of us deem to be summer. Alena love the heat and being out in it,especially at the lake. She looks forward to her husband’s family’s yearly trip to Boysen Reservoir, where they enjoy the water, the sand and sun, and spending time with the whole family.She especially loves their annual horseshoe tournament…complete with a traveling trophies for the year’s winners to gloat over. While the competition is fierce, the family isn’t they all get along very well, and the only time they are fierce is during the competition. Making it more fun, they choose teams or partners, so no one is always partnered with their spouse. Team work can take on a whole new meaning with this method. When you dont get to pick, but are placed with a team. Their annual trip is coming up soon, so I know she will be preparing for all the fun days to come, especially with the summer culminating with the best part of all…that new little baby girl. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Becoming parents for the first time is such an amazing thing. You are in awe of the beautiful gift God has given you, and you can’t wait to see them grow and become the person they are destined to be. Today was that special day for my grandson, Chris Petersen, and his beautiful fiance, Karen Cruickshank, when their daughter, Cambree Miranda Petersen made her grand entrance into the world yesterday, May 30, 2018 at 4:35pm. She weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. She was 19¼ inches long. She has soft wisps of brown hair, just like her parents did, and she is absolutely beautiful.

Cambree’s arrival has brought with it many changes in my family. Of course, Chris and Karen became parents, but also, my daughter, Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin became grandparents. Their other son, Josh became an uncle. My daughter, Amy Royce and her husband, Travis became great aunt and great uncle, and their children, Shai and Caalab now have a 1st cousin once removed. My husband, Bob and I are now great grandparents. And of course, there were the same changes for Karen’s family for her parents Jenn and Jon Andreen, and Chad Cruickshank are now grandparents. And Cambree has multiple great grandparents, and even one great great grandmother. Her siblings, including Khloe Andreen are now aunts and uncles. It’s an exciting day for sure.

Cambree is a sweet little baby girl, who loves to cuddle with those holding her. She was wide awake, even after having a full day of work just being born. Everyone knows labor and delivery is a tough job on the mom, but the baby has a lot of work to do too, and it can be quite exhausting for those little babies. Nevertheless, Cambree was excited to see what was going on around her, so she had her eyes wide open. What I found really special is how she just snuggled up to her daddy. She knew his voice from hearing him talk before she was born, and she cuddled up to him as if to say, “That’s my Daddy!” I find it so amazing that these babies can know their parents voices from inside the womb and so quickly relate to it after their birth. Such a sweet bond to both mommy and daddy. When her mommy had her, Cambree was totally content. She would have snuggled up and stayed right there for the rest of the day. This pretty girl is a sweet combination of both of her parents, and we are just so in love with her. Cambree has a big family who all love her very much and we can’t wait for all the wonderful times to come. Congratulations to Karen and Chris, your beautiful little family is growing, and we are so excited for the future!! We are so happy for you!!

A fireman…it seems to be the every little boy’s dream, and my grandson was no exception, but what has made him the exception is the fact that he has gone through all the training to actually become a fire fighter, and he never faltered. Josh began his journey while he was still in high school. He was in his element…immediately. Josh had some wonderful mentors along the way, all of whom made this dream interesting and who confirmed his destination. They helped Josh to know that his dream was the right dream for him.

Through the Boces program, Josh started his studies while he was still in high school, and then has continued his studies as a full time college student, achieving his Associates Degree in Fire Science in one year of full time college instead of two. His is looking forward to continued study to become a Paramedic, and he will also be looking into getting hired by one of the local fire departments. He is so excited about that prospect that he can hardly wait. I suppose it is the same with any course of study. You have learned the things you need to know for your career, and now you are just itching to get at it. That is exactly where Josh is right now…standing on the threshold of his future.

I have always known that Josh would make a great fire fighter/paramedic, because of the aptitude he displayed as a young boy helping to take care of his great grandparents. He was very meticulous, gentle, and caring. When Josh was helping, they always felt at ease, knowing that he would follow directions exactly and would always be careful with them. Josh has always had a heart for caregiving, and firefighter/paramedic falls right in line with caregiving, so as a career choice, it makes perfect sense. Today is the culmination of Josh’s dream and hard work, as he graduates with an Associates Degree in Fire Science. Congratulations Josh!! We are so proud of you and all your hard work!!

Karen Cruickshank is my grandson, Chris Petersen’s fiancé, and they are having my first great grandchild, a baby girl, just about any time. Since she was just a little girl, Karen has wanted to be a mommy, so this baby is a dream come true. I have seen Karen with her friends’ babies, and it’s plain to see that Karen is totally in her element with babies. She is going to be an amazing mom. Her sweet disposition and her caring ways really shine when she is caring for and playing with a baby. Her little girl is due on my daughter, Amy Royce’s birthday, but you just never know when these babies will decide to make their appearance. Early or late, we don’t have very long to wait, that’s for sure.

Karen has a great sense of humor, and loves to pull of a good joke or prank, and since she has been around my grandsons, Chris and Josh, her pranks, like theirs, tend to be aimed at the grandma…me. Of course, they are all in good fun, and so nothing to get upset about, but it is plain to see that those boys have corrupted that sweet girl already!! Hahaha!! It’s a good thing for her that Karens/Caryns have to stick together (as she puts it), because if that weren’t the case, I might have to retaliate on some of the pranks she has pulled on me.

Karen has been such a great blessing to my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, who always wanted a daughter, and consider Karen to be the daughter they never had. And to top it off, she is giving them a granddaughter, which they really never expected to have. For Corrie and Kevin, this is a twofold dream come true and they are excited beyond words. For them and for me, we love Karen because of the happiness she has brought to Chris’ life. I have never seen my grandson so happy and fulfilled. For him, there is nothing he wants more that to have a family. He is so ready to be a husband and daddy, and I have been so impressed with him as he prepares for the birth of his little girl, and I attribute much of that to Karen. They have been stashing away a savings for after the baby’s birth, and buying diapers so that when she arrives, Karen can stay home with her for a few months. I am so excited for all the wonderful things that are coming in their future…many good things ahead. Today is Karen’s birthday. Happy birthday Karen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Leap Day babies only get an official birthday every four yeas. According to tradition, on the off years, a Leap Day baby gets to celebrate their birthday on February 28th, March 1st, or both. I suppose they look at it this way…their actual birthday gets lost in time 3 years out of 4, so they have to make due with the other days. And maybe they even have a right to celebrate for two days. It seems strange to celebrate a lost day, but that is what they do. My granddaughter, Shai Royce is a Leap Day baby, and she has had her years of celebrating her day on the 28th, the 1st, and both, but for the most part, she chooses the 1st for her three off year birthdays. I have always celebrated her off year birthdays on March 1st, because the 28th was her great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday, as well as her cousin, Chris Petersen’s birthday. Chris was born one day before Shai, so that day just made no sense to me. Nevertheless, tradition allows her to celebrate on both days, and so , in order to make sure that she and anyone who knows her don’t think I forgot her birthday, I at least send her a text that says, “Happy first day of your birthday.” It actually should have said, “Happy first day of your missing birthday!!

Having a birthday that goes missing three years out of four could tend to give a person a bit of a complex, but I think that most Leap Day babies look at it as have a really special day every four years, and a really special situation the other three years. It is unusual to have your birthday disappear, after all. In the United States, as of 2016 (the last Leap Year), there are currently only 187,000 people who were born on Leap Day, plus approximately four million others from around the world. Babies have a one in 1,461 chance of being born on Leap Day. That makes my girl very special, in the world’s view. Of course, I always knew she was very special.

Shai has always been a hard worker with a heart of gold. She is good at so many things. She is great with children, and she could easily have been a nurse, or something in the health care line. She has a bubbly personality, and a smile that lights up her whole face. Her beautiful expressive eyes welcome you into her wolrd. She brings the sunshine into the room with her, when she walks in. I never would have expected that Shai would be my only granddaughter, but that has turned out to be the way it was. We used to love to do our nails together, and when she got into hiking, we hiked together. She was a great companion…until she moved to Washington state. That and the day her family moved were very sad days for me. I miss my beautiful granddaughter very much, but I know that she is living life her way, and that is the best thing I could ask for her…other than an awesome missing birthday day. To day is the second day of Shai’s missing birthday. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Much as changed for my oldest grandchild, Chris Petersen over the last year. He has grown up so much. Chris and his fiancé, Karen Cruickshank got engaged and they are expecting a baby girl the 1st of June. These are exciting times for the whole family. With this baby girl, my husband, Bob and I will become great grandparents for the first time; our daughter Corrie Petersen and her husband, Kevin will become grandparents for the first time; and of course, Chris and Karen will be first-time parents. It is such a big change for all of us, and one that we can hardly wait for. Changes like that are among the greatest blessings in life. We have looked a the ultrasound photos, repeatedly, trying to envision exactly what she will look like. The ultrasound can only tell you so much about what he baby looks like…even the 3D ultrasound. Of course, new technology brings with it an even better picture, but the 4D ultrasound is more expensive. One day it will be the way it is always done, but that day in not today, so we will have to wait a little bit longer to really find out what our little baby girl will look like.

With his growing family, Chris decided that the time had come to buy their home, so he found a cute little condo to buy, and he and Karen have been busily decorating it, and preparing the second bedroom for their new little addition. Buying a house is, as we all know, a really big step. Nevertheless, often the house payment is less than rent would have been. That is exactly what happened with Chris and Karen, so that has helped when it comes to the extra money to get things ready for their little girl. Buying a home is a big step, but it is also an exciting step, and Chris is no exception. Owning his own home as made him feel more like an adult, with a sense of pride in ownership.

A few months ago, Chris landed his dream job. It’s funny, as a chef Chris expected that his dream job would have been in a restaurant, but that was not the case for Chris. Chris found his calling in the health care industry…not as a CNA, nurse, or aid, but rather as a chef. Chris works at Mountain Plaza Assisted Living, and he really loves it. Being a chef in a assisted living facility allows him to not only cook, which was his chosen career, but it allows him to have a positive effect on the lives of a really great group of people. After serving the meals, Chris gets to go out and visit with the residents, and that has been a great opportunity for him an a great perk for the residents. I am very proud of all of Chris’ accomplishments, and I’m very proud of the impact he has on the lives of those around him. for Chris, it has been a really big year. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg, like her mother before her was blessed to be able to share her birthday with her first great grandchild, Chris Petersen. It was something the two of them really liked, and over the years, many joint birthday parties were held in their honor. It was a tradition that started when Chris’ mom, Corrie Petersen, my oldest daughter, shared her birthday with Joann’s mom, Nettie Knox. The pictures we have of those moments are something Chris and Corrie will treasure forever, just as their were treasures for their great grandmothers.

Unfortunately, that tradition will not be carried on through the next generation, because while my grandson Chris and his fiancé, Karen Cruickshank are making my husband Bob a great grandfather, they will miss his birthday by at least a month. Nevertheless, Chris will be the great grandchild who will make my mother-in-law a great great grandmother, but she did not live to see that day, something that makes us all very sad. She lloved being a grandma, and loved those sweet babies, so I know she would have loved this next level of her ife, and totally loved the little girl who is on the way in early June.

When his great grandma was in the hospital for the last time, we all went up to see her, and Chris wondered if it would be ok to take pictures with her, the baby’s ultra sound, and him, so that there would be a picture for his little girl. He had been hoping for pictures of her with the baby, and also for five-generation pictures with her, his grandpa, his mom, the baby, and him. After Chris asked me about the pictures, my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg suggested the same thing, so we all decided it should be done. That visit was hard, because his grandma was in and out, and Chris wasn’t sure he would be able to understand what we were trying to tell her. When the visit was over, we all left her room, except Chris. He wanted a few minutes to officially tell his great grandma that she was going to be a great great grandma…even if she wasn’t awake to hear it. Then, a little miracle happened. As Chris was talking to her, she opened her eyes and looked right at him. Chris didn’t wait another second, but told her, “Grandma, I just wanted to let you know that you are going to be a great great grandma. My fiancé, Karen and I are having a baby girl in June.” His great grandma looked right at him, and she smiled with delight! Chris knew that she knew, and it brought tears to his eyes. It was the ultimate gift for both of them, and I am so glad that she got to know this great news before her passing just a few days later. Today would have been her 87th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Mom. We love and miss you very much.

My grand niece, Christina Masterson and my granddaughter, Shai Royce were like two peas in a pod as kids. Unfortunately, now that they live far apart, they don’t get to spend much time together. Nevertheless, they pretty much crammed a lifetime of mischief into those young years…like most kids. The things they used to do, while not really bad, were a part of the same shock factor actions of the kids today. I remember Shai being in my car, and suddenly yelling out the window at someone on the street, “Hi!!” After they looked at her, and me like we were crazy, she told me that she and Christina do that all the time. In my day, we didn’t want to look like the nut case in town, but apparently in their day, it was the cool thing to do. I guess I should be thankful that they were not the boys with their jeans around their knees. When I was a kid, it was the kids who didn’t want to be seen with the parents because they “might” do something embarrassing. So, now I guess it’s the in thing to be embarrassing, but I can promise you that, if I did that from their car, they would be quick to tell me in a shocked voice, “Grandma/Aunt Caryn, what are you doing?? Shhhhhh!!!” Apparently, I’ll never be back in the cool generation…sigh!!

Christina and Shai were born just 5 days apart, and they were among 6 of my parent’s grandchildren born over a three year period…all the rest of those grandkids were boys. I guess the girls would have to stick together. They would try to hide out away from the boys, but you know how little boys are. They did their very best to torment the girls. That of course resulted in much screaming from the girls. They could make it sound like mass murder, when it was simply that the boys were in the same room…or the same universe for that matter. And telling them to ignore them, you received a look like, “what does that even mean?” They just thought it was their right to ask for the removal of the offending boy, preferably to a different family. Of course, the main tormenter cousin was my grandson, Caalab Royce…Shai’s brother. That made matters far worse. Not only was he wanting to play, but Shai was around him all the time, so the screaming was more like howling!!! Caalab was always a true teaser, and the girls were his favorite target. I can’t tell you how many times Shai told me she wanted to have he adopted…by any other family in the world!! Thankfully, the three of them are the best of friends these days…who would have thought.

A number of years ago, Christina moved to Colorado to live with her mom, and finished growing up there. I have to admit that while the drama of those prior years drove me and their moms crazy, I missed it too. Christina graduated from high school, and went on to study dental hygiene. When she was done with school she got a place of her own, and in true Drama Queen Fashion, she has decorated her apartment with all the girlie, drama queen things. I don’t know about the rest of the apartment, but Christina has a pink living room, and I have to admit, drama queen or not, I think its really cute!! Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Like most of the Schulenberg men, my brother-in-law Ron Schulenberg is a work-a-holic. When he isn’t working as a diesel mechanic at Wyoming Machinery, he is working on a car at his own house. This year Ron also put a roof on the family home and put up a fence around the yard. Like any work-a-holic, he spends an average of 16 working hours a day, and then comes in to spend time with his favorite people, his wife Rachel and his son Tucker, and the dogs of course. Weekends often find him working with his nephew, Barry or brother, Bob, both of whom are work-a-holics too. The men cut wood or work on cars. The main good news about all this for Rachel is the fact that she knows where to find him. That’s the way I always felt about Bob’s work.

Ron loves grilling, and really knows his way around a barbeque grill. That seems to be another trait of the Schulenberg men…including my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg, who was just like his sons and grandsons. Of course, these days, Ron has a helper with all his activities. His son Tucker, his sidekick, is right there doing whatever his dad is doing, be it working, playing, or grilling. They are best buddies, and they are perfectly happy to have each other to count on for help on their projects. It’s important to have an assistant for these things, and Tucker would rather be working with his dad, than almost anything else in the world.

While Ron is a work-a-holic, and like getting things done, he does like his relaxation time too. He enjoys traveling. The family took a trip to New York a while back and really enjoyed Niagara Falls. Ron really enjoys his work, but the reality is that we work to make a better life for our family. Work is a means to an end…a better family life. I can’t picture Ron never getting out there and working…at least not until he is really, really old, but I think that if you ask Ron how he feels about the things he does in life, he would simply say, “I’d rather be camping!” Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy 50th birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook leads a pretty busy life. During the school year, she is the “bus driver” for her two youngest grandchildren, Easton Moore and Kaytlyn Griffith after school. The older kids, Weston Moore and Jala Satterwhite have activities that go on after school, so Debbie has just the little ones. Debbie likes to do special things for the grandkids, such as the brownies she made as a treat for Valentine’s Day. Of course, when its nice outside, there is a lot more that can be done, like going to the park, where they can run and play, which is probably to their parents liking too, because then they are more settled at night…or is does that only work on the little ones?

Winter is a dreaded time for lots of people, an most especially for anyone who like to got camping. Debbie and her husband, Lynn love to go camping, and I think that they would move to the mountains if it weren’t for the fact that the kids and grandkids live in town. So the next best thing is family camping trip to the Big Horn Mountains. Their daughter Machelle, told me that going camping with the family every weekend is so peaceful and quiet and that they al really enjoy it. Machelle says it is like having a sleepover every weekend. Now when you think about it, which of us wouldn’t love to go home sometimes to relive the days of our youth…especially the ones when you and your siblings had a sleepover on the living room floor. That’s kind of how it feels to the family when they are all camping together in the beauty of the mountains.

Her family is the most important thing to Debbie. She loves being around the grandchildren, and especially having them all want to go camping together. It’s like taking weekly vacations together all your life. Most people quit taking together vacations when they get married, so it’s something special. I suppose that with the next generation coming of age, things are likely to change. When the grandkids are driving and working, they can’t always go along on the fun stuff, and they are old enough to stay alone, so things slowly change. Hopefully it doesn’t change too fast. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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