Three out of four years, my granddaughter, Shai Royce doesn’t get a real birthday. That’s because her real birthday only happens once every four years. Of course, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t get a birthday celebration, because she does. Shai’s birthday is as special as she is, and that needs to be celebrated. The funny thing about it is that people don’t know exactly when to do that. Because my grandson, Shai’s cousin Chris Petersen was born the day before she was, we have always celebrated her nano-birthday on March 1, even if it is the wedding anniversary of her grandparents, my husband Bob and me. Chris and Shai are part of a cluster of birthdays and one anniversary, because Chris was born on my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday. Not every Leap Day Baby calls the off years a nano-birthday. In reality, I made that up. You see, the birthday has to exist…right? It is the nano-second between 11:59pm on February 28th and 12:00am on March 1st…hence the nano-birthday. Technically, the Leap Day Baby can celebrate their nano-birthday on February 28, March 1st, or both, and when she turned 4 (16) she was able to get her driver’s license a day early, because that is just how the DMV did it. We have a lot of fun with the Leap Day Birthday/Nano-Birthday that we have, as I think most people who have or know someone who has that birthday do.
Shai is a very social person, and is always the life of the party. She gets that from her dad, Travis Royce. They can both walk into a room and instantly have friends to talk to…even if they didn’t know anyone before. They have simply never met a stranger. Her brother, Caalab is that way too. Her mom is more like her grandma…knowing that it can sometimes get too “peopley” out there. I think Caalab’s girlfriend, Chloe Foster is more my Amy and me, but I could be wrong. It takes all kinds to make life happy, and Shai’s family all live in harmony and get along very well.
Shai is a personal lines account manager at Rice Insurance, LLC, where her mom, Amy also works. They are both well respected in the insurance industry, and I guess I can take a little credit for that, since I gave both of them their start in insurance. Nevertheless, you can hire someone to work in insurance, but you cannot make it their niche. That is something they must decide for themselves, or as is the case with my daughter and granddaughter, have insurance in your blood. It is an industry that has served them both well, and that makes me very happy. Today is Shai’s 25th birthday, or in real years, it’s her 6¼ birthday. She could just be the youngest insurance agent in history, unless there is another Leap Day Baby who is an insurance agent. Happy nano-birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My uncle, Jack McDaniels was always a mechanic, just like his dad before him. He may have had other jobs, but mechanics was really his first job love. That may have been the thing that led to what he was doing when he was dating my aunt, Bonnie Byer. At that time, Uncle Jack was a race car driver. Many of their dates were spent at the local race track, where Uncle Jack drove car number 77. I’m sure that the idea of a race car driver appealed to Aunt Bonnie. Tell me, what girl wouldn’t get a thrill out of a guy who lived a little bit on the edge. Certainly, Aunt Bonnie was taken with him, and he with her.
Before long, they knew it was love, and on Valentine’s Day 1959, they were set to tie the knot. Uncle Jack was on the way to the church with his best man, Gary Rich, who was dating Aunt Bonnie’s sister, my Aunt Dixie at the time. As the neared the turn to go to the church, Uncle Jack drove right past it. They were now headed toward Midwest, Wyoming. Gary said, “Jack, what are you doing?” Uncle Jack said, “Nothing,” but Gary knew what was going on. Uncle Jack had the “Wedding Day Jitters” and he had them bad. Gary soon convinced Uncle Jack that he would hate himself forever if he ran out on the love of his life. Uncle Jack knew it, of course, but that hadn’t stopped the jitters from getting to him for a minute. After the two men talked, a more relaxed Uncle Jack turned the car around and married the girl who was the best thing that ever happened to him.
With his wedding jitters behind him, Uncle Jack and Aunt Bonnie went on to have a beautiful family. They had a daughter, Cindy, who was born on May 3, 1961. Then, on September 3, 1964, their son Michael was born. Their family was complete, and Uncle Jack’s jitters were gone…or were they. The “Wedding Day Jitters” would return one more time, but under very different circumstances. As their daughter Cindy was getting married, Uncle Jack was once again nervous, for a similar reason. While it wasn’t his own wedding, he was going to be walking his daughter down the aisle, and that is a reason to be nervous. This time, it would be his brother-in-law, Wayne Byer who would get rid of the jitters, and help Uncle Jack get through it all. Uncle Wayne has always been a joker, and he sat in the very back pews, designed for the ushers, and began to quietly chant, “Close the door Dominic Friscum…” He wanted to ease the tension, and the plan worked. Uncle Jack couldn’t help but laugh at the silliness of his brother-in-law. Of course, my grandma, and Uncle Wayne’s mom, Hattie Byer pretended to be furious with these silly boys, but they weren’t fooled. She thought it was just as funny as they did, and it was so typical of the two of them too. Today would have been my Uncle Jack’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Jack. We love and miss you very much.
My nephew, Dave Chase has been such a blessing to our family since he married my niece, Toni. Dave always goes above and beyond just being Toni’s husband. Dave treats Toni like a queen. She feels his love in everything he said says, and that is a beautiful kind of love to have. Dave is devoted to his family. He and Toni’s son, James are good friends, and Dave never tries to take the place of James’ dad, but he is always there for him too. As a family, they have taken many trips, and seen many places. Dave likes to travel, and so do Toni and James, so it works out well for all. Of course, 2020 was…very different, for all of us.
With Covid-19, everyone spent most of the year doing a new activity…social distancing. It is a phrase we have all learned to hate. We were stuck at home, not travel, no restaurants, no movies, even no camping…in the woods, away from people, for Pete’s sake. Some of that is behinds us now, or at least for now, but during the year, it was pretty awful. For the average person the problems were truly annoying, but for lots of people the problems were much worse. One of the biggest problems was depression. But other serious problems include loneliness, fear, and helplessness.
All that is the norm for the Covid-19 Lockdowns, but not if you’re Dave Chase. I would have expected Dave to be going stir-crazy…especially since Dave, Toni, and James did not catch Covid-19. Dave is very sports oriented. He always has been, but he did not let the lack of sports, gyms, and any other form of activities get him down. Dave just shifted gears and embraced the lockdowns by learning how to do indoor golf, online fantasy football, baseball, golf, and college basketball. Lots of guys go in for that, but I don’t think it would be for me. Once people could go outside much, Dave was out there fishing, and having good success at it too. As things finally started opening up, at least in Wyoming, Dave has been able to go back to playing live basketball, recently. You might think that after not playing for a long time, Dave might be a bit rusty, but not so. He is still the champ, even among his 30-year younger teammates. Dave has also enjoyed being able to have friends come over, like his buddy, Ron Birks. So, even with the Covid-19 Lockdown, Dave has stayed pretty sane. Not bad!! Not bad at all!! Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My uncle, Wayne Byer is the younger of my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer’s two sons. He always had a great sense of humor, which is very likely why my mom, Collene (Byer) Spencer and their older brother, Larry Byer all got along so well. They were pretty much three-of-a-kind. They all thought the same things funny, and they didn’t care if they looked silly…it was all part of the humor. In fact, I think the silliness is what really makes humor. People who can’t ne silly, really aren’t funny either.
My mom loved being the middle sister, in the middle of the two brothers, mostly because the boys made it fun. Of course, they were all kids, so sometimes that meant they got into mischief. The three of them…well, I can imagine they drove Grandma crazy sometimes. I never really thought of my mom as a tomboy, but I think she might have been. I’ll bet she did everything she could to keep up with her brothers. I think they were probably protective of her too. Still, like most siblings, who are close…I’m sure they picked on Mom a lot. It was just past of being the three-of-a-kind.
Uncle Wayne’s sense of humor, and his friendly ways, endeared him to so many people. My sisters remember that Uncle Wayne was well known and liked by the ladies who worked in the cafeteria at East Junior High School. That information and the fact that we were related gave my sisters a few good lunchtime perks, like the best desserts and dishes. Uncle Wayne was very well liked by everyone, and I’m sure there were other nieces and nephews, as well as his three sons, Tim, Keith, and Cliff. Anyone with a true tie to him was looked at as privileged. I never had to ride the bus to school, but I can just imagine what the drive was like. There are bus drivers who are crabby, and then there are bus drivers who are fun. I can totally imagine how much fun it was to be on Uncle Wayne’s bus. I would imagine that as long as you stayed seated and didn’t cause trouble, the ride could be filled with a lot of laughs. A bus driver like that makes me wish I did have to ride a bus…well, sometimes. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
The new year is always a little bittersweet for my family…at least since my mother, Collene Spencer passed away on February 22, 2015. Mom’s birthday was the party event of the year, because her birthday was on January 1st. That’s the party event of the year for most people, but even more so for us. We celebrated the end of the old year, Mom’s birthday always made our New Year’s Eve party the best of all of them. You couldn’t have paid us to go to some other party. Even the ball dropping at Times Square, couldn’t compare for us. We were already at the best party event. I miss those parties. Oh, we still celebrate, but one guest is missing…Mom. The parties just aren’t the same without the part about welcoming the new year and then telling Mom happy birthday. Now, we can only give her our birthday wishes from Earth to Heaven.
Mom was a special kind of person. She was a child of God, who wanted everyone to know her Savior, Jesus Christ. She told people about the Lord, even when my sisters and I thought she should give up on the person. Mom couldn’t stand the idea of anyone going to Hell. She had such a pure heart that way. When I think about all the people she talked to over the years, and the fact that if even half of them got saved…well, Mom helped bring a whole lot of people to the Lord. Looking back on all the times I was embarrassed by her “mission” work, it makes me feel ashamed. She was doing what she knew to be right, and I was a kid who knew nothing. She took the high road in it. I wish I had.
Mom was a character to say the least. She would do the funniest things and make the funniest faces, just to make us laugh. Especially if we, her five daughters, Cheryl Masterson, me (Caryn Schulenberg), Caryl Reed, Alena Stevens, and Allyn Hadlock, were fighting. Of course, we didn’t all fight at the same time, but rather two or three at a time. Just imagine having five daughters who were either fighting or playing loudly. We must have driven Mom crazy at times. Still, she loved being a Mom, and had visions of the perfect children, like all moms do…until they have kids anyway. Then the reality hits. Kids are kids, and they make noise and they fight. Mom loved to creatively stop the noise…even if that meant making funny faces. She also loved to sing us a song. Her favorite, “You Are My Sunshine” was a staple in our house. She was the sunshine in our house, and we always knew that we were her sunshine. Today would have been my mom’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Mom. We love and miss you very much.
I finally finished my Christmas shopping!! I’m very excited about it. I suppose that would sound funny to most people, especially when you consider that today is December 28th. In case you are wondering, no I’m not finished with next year’s Christmas shopping. That would be a miracle, indeed. Actually, I was doing ok with my shopping, I had everything purchased and shipped to my daughter, Amy’s family in Washington state, with the exception of stocking stuffers. Then, it happened. Covid had made its way through our family, my sisters (except Alena Stevens and her family), brothers-in-law, and a number of cousins. Bob and I had it over Thanksgiving, which was also cancelled this year…at least for us. I thought maybe we would make it through Christmas Covid-free, but then my daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin caught it, and their quarantine would take us through Christmas. This just wasn’t our year for holidays.
That said, the urgency to finish my Christmas shopping left me, because we decided to postpone our celebration until we could all be together for it. Celebrating, when part of us we’re stuck at home or in the hospital was just not the same, and it would be especially sad for Corrie and Kevin. It doesn’t feel like a celebration when part of the family is not there. When the day comes, it will be worth the wait. It will be a real celebration, because we will all be well. So we wait, because Corrie and Kevin being with us is more important than what day we celebrate this year.
I suppose that means I could still have plenty of time for shopping, but who knows. The thing about Covid is that some people take a while to get over it and others are over it in two weeks. The day when we could finally have Christmas could creep up on me and then my shopping wouldn’t be done. Not good!! So, I decided to get it finished. And another good thing is that I actually have all the gifts wrapped Wow!! Now, whenever Christmas comes this year, I’ll be ready.
Yesterday, we received the news that our sweet Uncle Bill Spencer had passed away from Covid at the Middle River Health and Rehabilitation Center in South Range, Wisconsin. He was a little under one month from his 99th birthday. Uncle Bill had lived at the Middle River Center for about ten years now, and we have had the opportunity to visit him there twice. I wish it had been more, but we live a long way away from them, so it wasn’t to be. The center was a nice place, and the people there loved Uncle Bill. We could see that the people there had a heart for their residents, and that gave us peace of mind. Uncle Bill tested positive for Covid on December 14th, and was doing ok until the morning of December 25th. By that afternoon, he had gone home to Heaven.
Uncle Bill was the last of my dad’s generation in their parents’ line, and lived the longest of them all. He was the second child of my grandparents, Allen and Anna (Schumacher) Spencer, born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin on January 21, 1922, when his older sister, Laura (Spencer) Fredrick was 10 years old, born August 3, 1912. We don’t know why there was such a distance between the two older children, because the younger three were pretty close together. My dad, Allen Spencer followed on April 27, 1924, and Aunt Ruth (Spencer) Wolfe on November 9, 1925. As they grew, the brothers, William and Allen were good friends as well as siblings. The fact that both were boys gave them many interests in common.
I recall some of their stories told when Uncle Bill came out for a visit in 2006. One of my favorites was about Independence Day celebrations. Growing up on a farm in the Holyoke area of Minnesota, they boys worked to plow, and remove rocks and tree stumps from the fields. This made them experts with dynamite, a fact that we hadn’t heard before. That in itself is very interesting, but they were also kids, and…well mischievous to say the least. Their July 4th tradition was to set off a dynamite blast…at daybreak. When I asked if people got mad at them, they said that they were out in the country, so who cared. Indeed!! One time though, they decided to try something new. Their mom had gone into town, leaving the boys at home. Their curious minds kicked in. They decided to find out what would happen if they set off a stick of dynamite on the top of the gate post. Yikes!! Well, they found out what would happen. When the dynamite exploded, the gate post sunk several inches into the dirt. The gate would no longer close, of course, and he boys immediately set about fixing it before their mom came back from town. They had no desire to find out what she thought of their prank.
While it makes me so sad that my uncle is gone now, I can feel his excitement as he entered Heaven to find his parents and siblings waiting for him. And what a wonderful thought…he was home for Christmas this year. I would imagine the celebration was wonderful. The boys were back together after so many years. I can picture them…just like kids again, filled with excitement, but I can also imagine one other thing. I can hear God saying, “The boys are back together…hide the dynamite!!” God knows his children well, and it simply wouldn’t do for those mischievous Spencer brothers to set off a stick of dynamite, right there on the gate post of the Pearly Gates, and sink one side several inches into the ground!! Nevertheless, I can see their minds clicking, sharp as ever now, thinking…”Hey, lets give that a try!!” Dynamite or not, there is a party going on in Heaven today. Grandma and Grandpa Spencer, and their kids are all together in Heaven again, and that’s worth celebrating. Uncle Bill we all love you very much and we will miss you always. You are in our future now, and we can’t wait to see you again.
My niece, Jessi Sawdon is not your typical stay-at-home mom, if that could be a thing anyway. Most moms have been faced with the dilemma of working outside the home or staying home to raise the babies. In the past, the only work from home jobs were daycare or telemarketing. While daycare is a noble calling, and one whose workers must be given a lot of credit, because it is not easy to take care of several children all day; telemarketing is another story. Nobody wants to talk to you, and they truly wish you would just “get a real job” already!! When I was raising kids, and my daughters were raising kids, work-from-home was not a real option. I’m glad that it is for mothers these days.
Jessi has a degree in communication and marketing, and works as the Marketing Coordinator at LUM Studio. She is also mommy to her daughter, Adelaide Ione. The biggest blessing from her work-from-home job is that she can take Adelaide to and from school and attend the school functions that so many working moms miss because of their jobs. LUM Studio is a website designer and hosting company. Their work is beautiful and the are enjoying great success. They are becoming well known and have received work from businesses around the state. It is great that Jessi can be a stay-at-home mom to Adelaide and still focus on her career. Being able to have both a career and a stay-at-home mom atmosphere is really so important.
Jessi is a bit of a comedian. She loves doing things to make people laugh. It is something that seems to run in the family. You might ask her sister, Lindsay about Jessi, and she will respond with, “Who is Jessi?” Her sister Kellie loves to be goofy, and always laughs or smiles…especially when someone like Jessi decides to photobomb her. Her brother, Ryan is one of the world’s biggest teasers, and all the girls have been subject to his teasing ways, but it is done in good fun, and it makes for a lot of laughs for this family.
Of course, like most of us, Covd-19 has required Jessie, her husband, Jason and Adelaide to be in social distancing mode, but it didn’t keep them from being able to go camping quite a bit. During the summer and fall and they really enjoyed their new toy hauler, because they can go camping and four wheeling. That has really let them enjoy the great outdoors. Jessi and Jason have a side by side four wheeler that seats four, so they can all go together on their sight seeing rides. Adelaide loves riding with her mom and dad! They love going to the lake, the Big Horns, and sometimes Jason finds little out of the way places where they can just enjoy being together. They also love to take walks as a family and they go often when the weather permits. God has really blessed them! Today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Dustie Masterson is always an upbeat happy person. She married my nephew, Rob Masterson in 2003, and they have been soulmates since that time. They have worked very hard to build a good life for themselves and their children, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna, as well as Rob’s grown daughter, Christina, when she is in town. Dustie works as a shift leader at Walgreen’s…a job she likes very much. She is a great person to be shift leader, because she is a motivator without having to be grouchy. People just naturally like Dustie, and they want to do their best for her. That really helps in the work world. Dustie is always helpful to those in need, and that also endears her to many people. She would bend over backward to help someone who needed help.
Not everybody can join a family and fit right in. Often, people have to get used to a person, and their quirks, but apparently Dustie had the same quirks the rest of the family did, because there was very little adjustment needed. Of course, it helps that Dustie loves to make people laugh, and she isn’t shy about making a face or doing something that accomplishes that goal. Dustie always puts a smile on the faces of the people around her. And speaking of smiles, Dustie has a great one. When she smiles, her whole face smiles. That is a very special trait, and one that describes Dustie very well. Dustie is also very good to my sister, Cheryl, and that have endeared her to our family is a big way. Dustie has loved Cheryl as a mom, and that is awesome.
Dustie is a great mom. She hasn’t forgotten her own teenaged years, and with three children in that age group, a parent needs patience and wisdom. The teenaged years are emotional roller coasters, even for the calmest of kids. Now, with two of her kids in various stages of learning to drive, she really has her hands full. Of course, Rob will help with that too, but anyone who has had kids of driving age knows, every time they want to get into the car, they want to be behind the wheel. Of course, most kids learn how to drive very quickly, but there is always the snow factor, which adds a good deal of stress to the parents of these new drivers. I know that both Dustie and Rob will do well with that, because like most parents, they will make their way through the different abilities and personalities. And after these two, they only have one more new driver to go. There is hope!! Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My nephew, Tucker Schulenberg is quite a guy!! He loves wheels…all kinds of wheels!! He loves to go out on the four wheeler, his motorcycle, and his rip stick. If fact, he has used his rip stick so much that he wore out his wheels. He just may be the first kid to ever do that. It certainly isn’t something I’ve ever heard of before.
Tucker is a soft hearted guy, who likes to do things for other people. He likes to sleep in, but he gives that up in the winter months do he can get up and build a fire for his dad, my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg, (who recently adopted him…the best day in all of their lives). Tucker is very dedicated to keeping his dad warm and usually is a very good helper doing oil and sweeping the garage. Tucker loves spending time with his dad, and even work doesn’t seem like work when they are together. Although Tucker has this “hard-core armor” on outside he is very sensitive on the inside and always worries about his family especially his brother, Riley Birky and his sister, Cassie Iverson! He loves them very much because he has such a huge heart. Tucker also loves his dogs and his cat.
Tucker is a comical guy. In school he is very popular because he is the class clown. He is always funny and joking around. Nevertheless, he is smart as a whip, and does well in school. He has a couple of really good friends…Joey, who he has known since preschool, and with whom he is very close. Their friendship has been a strong bond for both of them. His cousin Easton Moore is another of his close friends. They love to play Xbox games together, over the phone, since they live in different towns. And…like many boys his age, Tucker has a girlfriend. I’m not surprised, because he is a cute guy and so all the girls swoon over him.
As with most teenagers, Tucker sometimes gets “a little mouthy” and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg had to threaten to take away his privileges. Like most men, he never picks up his clothes or his towels. He definitely not a “neat freak,” but she is trying to teach him the way to be a good husband in the future. I’m sure his future wife will appreciate that effort very much. It’s funny that Tucker doesn’t pick up his clothes, because he is very “into” the way he dresses. He enjoys looking nice and up-to-date with the current fashion trends. He was real excited to get a new leather jacket and cowboy boots for his birthday. Tucker has his head on straight, and in very informed about politics. He is a Trumper all the way, and that makes all of his family very proud. Today is Tucker’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great day!! We love you!!