For my nephew, Shannon Moore, who is the assistant coach for the Wyoming Cowboys Football team. He is also their tight ends coach and helps with special teams too. Like most people involved with any level of education, this year has been different…to say the least. With the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the subsequent shutdown of all the schools in the nation, Shannon began working from home in March, and continued to do so until May, after the school year ended. For Shannon this meant attempting to re-invent himself and his job. In all reality, Shannon became a virtual coach…almost resembling a video game. Since the school year ended, Shannon has been on a modified schedule in the office/work from home since. I suppose with the students gone now, he can be in his office some, but when it comes to recruiting and players, things were different too, because of course, planes weren’t flying to most places, and states were locked down.
So while Shannon’s life as a football coach was very different, it was not the only part of his life that has been…different. Like many people who live very busy lives, the Covid-19 shutdown slowed life down exponentially. People found themselves at home with their families a lot. Of course, I think most people loved that part. The problem parts were that if they just sat and watched television, and many did, eating followed, along with less exercise, and weight gain. Shannon and his wife, my niece, Lindsay didn’t want to do that, so they did a lot of hiking whenever the weather allowed. They also exercised to stay fit. Also, like many people who had projects around the house that there just never seemed to be enough time for, Shannon set about painting the house, and building a beautiful deck in the back yard. Lindsay and Shannon love to entertain, and with a football team to mentor, celebrate with, and plan with, they have lots of opportunities to entertain the guys. It’s good for the team too, because many of them are away from their own family and friends, so Lindsay and Shannon have become surrogate parents, so to speak.
For Lindsay and their daughter, Mackenzie, this special time of having Shannon home, has been a gift they will always cherish. Mackenzie is going on three, and she is very much a Daddy’s Girl, so having her daddy home all day is…awesome!! Shannon is a very tender, loving man, and so good to his family. The hiking the family did gave Lindsay and Mackenzie more precious time with Shannon. They have also been able to go camping now, and that has been wonderful. They are so happy that God gave Shannon the opportunity to come back to Wyoming, and to be a part of the Wyoming Cowboys Football team, and so are we, all of their family. The environment here in Wyoming has such an unhurried, stressless feel to it, and it has been wonderful to be closer to family again. Praise God!! Today is Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has had a very busy summer. Last year, he and his wife, my sister, Allyn purchased the land where his parents lived, and he grew up, and had the old home torn down, because it was in disrepair. Then, they built a new house on his favorite place on earth, his childhood home on the Platte River. The house was finished in time for the holidays last year, and because they love to entertain, we have all been the beneficiaries of their beautiful new home. The Spencer Family Christmas Party was held there and a wonderful time was had by all. We had the Spencer Family New Year’s Eve Party there and again enjoyed a wonderful party. And I know there will be many other gatherings to come, including a barbecue this weekend as our cousin Bill Spencer will be here from Wisconsin for a visit.
They still have work to do on the house, as they plan to finish the upper level, but the lower level is done. The spring brought with it, the beginning of the plans Chris and Allyn have for the outdoor areas of the property. They used the time of Covid-19 and Social Distancing for a retaining wall project on the east side of their house, where the builders dug the dirt out to build the house. It really does look great. That just goes to show what can be accomplished when we have lots of extra time on our hands. I think a lot of people had social distancing projects in the works. When you see your house all day long, you really begin to notice the things that need to get done.
Chris really loves to work on the land they now have, and the back yard that borders the river is a wonderful incentive to really make it into a sanctuary. Because I have spent time in their back yard, I can tell you that it was beautiful, peaceful, and quiet. Their home and property sits far back from any highway, and even far back from the closest road to get to their driveway. Their driveway is long, and the house sits in a little valley at the end of the driveway. That effectively eliminates traffic noises, and allows you to sit and listen to the birds and the river as it meanders by. Peace and quiet just doesn’t get better than that. I suppose it’s like camping out at your own house, except they aren’t sleeping in a tent or camper. Instead, they are sleeping in the awesome log bed that Chris made for them. Chris has a knack for wood work, having done work on other cabins, as well as chainsaw carving, both of which he excelled at. It is always nice when you can do some of the construction and other building work for yourself, as it saves a lot of money in the end. Chris has proven himself in all these areas. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I only knew my sister-in-law, Marlyce Schulenberg, for 15 years before she passed away from cancer in 1989, and yet, I felt like I knew her a lifetime. Some people just have the ability to have that kind of an impact on others. Marlyce just radiated love for her family. Marlyce was developmentally disabled, but higher functioning. She could do many of the things the rest of us could do, but her mind was on the younger side. That made her eager to please people, and interested in fun projects. She loved to be creative and especially loved it when things she made pleased those around her. She loved baking, and chocolate chip cookies were her favorites, and mine too.
I can’t believe that Marlyce has been gone for 31 years now, more that double the amount of time that I knew her. With some people, the length of time you know them, doesn’t matter, because the impact that short time had on your life far outweighed the length of time you spent with them. That really is the way it was with Marlyce. Her sweet nature endeared her to the people who knew her, and still does to this day. Some people are never forgotten, and I think Marlyce was one of those people. Her influence reached far beyond her years of life, and for those who knew her, continues to this day.
Marlyce wasn’t perfect, of course, and she could get angry when things didn’t go her way. Like any child, she had a temper, when she was crossed, and her siblings sometimes enjoyed seeing that temper present itself, so teasing was not unheard of in the Schulenberg household. That was on thing I didn’t participate in, however. Maybe that’s why she always tried to please me, by making the signature chocolate chip cookies. I can’t say for sure. What I do know, is that Marlyce was always very sweet to me, and I can’t recall a singly time we had a fight, or even a simple disagreement. I’m glad, because I would never want to be the source of any pain or discomfort in her…not that her siblings were mean to her, but we all know that siblings are used to each other, and fights are par for the course. Today would have been Marlyce’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven sweet Marlyce. We love and miss you very much.
For a deep thinker, like my grand niece, Anna Masterson, being an introvert is usually par for the course. Introversion can be overcome, but it is not easy, and really takes a concentrated effort. Anna has been working on being more outgoing over the past year. That has not been very easy with Covid-19. She has been faithfully going with her mom, Dustie Masterson, every week to the laundromat. That can be a major accomplishment for an introvert. I know I am much the same. Dustie really appreciates Anna’s help because they get through the work quickly. For Anna the surprise was that she has made a friend there, which was a surprise for Dustie to see, because Anna does not talk to people she doesn’t know. Even more surprising was that it was a boy, an act of bravery on her part. Not surprising that the boy wanted to talk to her, because Anna is a cute girl. Still, she stayed very close to her mom while she talked to him for a while. Nevertheless, pretty soon she was talking to him across the laundromat! Amazingly, it was her mom who had a hard time letting Anna go across the room. It was just such an unusual feeling to have her normally clingy daughter moving so bravely out into the world. Dustie wants Anna to come out of her shell, but watching the process was not easy for a mom who has felt the need to help her shy daughter in the past.
The end of the school year was rough for Anna. Covid-19 really put a damper on those, like Anna, who really love school. She got up on her own every day on time and went to her online classes. She didn’t have to be told, she chose. Still, it’s not the same as going to school, and even for an introvert like Anna, being around people she knew was important, and she missed going. It was very responsible of her to get up on her own, because her parents, Rob and Dustie both work, they are glad she was so good about getting up with an alarm. Anna and her best friend, Julie, both play the violin in orchestra, and that has had to go by the wayside too. I know they both miss it very much. For them, and all the kids I pray Covid-19 ends soon.
Like many people, Anna and her sister, Raelynn are both into Comic-Con, and this year, both girls plan to go, as it will be held outside to allow for good social distancing. The girls are so excited about going. In the meantime, Anna and her siblings, Raelynn and Matt, have been spending a lot of time together, which could have been a problem, but they get along pretty well, so they have tried to keep things light and fun.
Anna surprised her mom in another way this year. Before this year, Anna was not really interested in cooking, but she has decided that she likes to cook and be creative in the kitchen. This has been a wonderful mother/daughter time for both of them, and Dustie has really enjoyed teaching her daughter all about cooking. It has brought them even closer. Today is Anna’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandnephew, Lucas Iverson, like the rest of the American school children, has had a very unusual school year…one that ended long before it was scheduled to. For most kids, while the missed ending of the school year was not good, for Lucas, it was really more detrimental than the normal student. Down Syndrome means that Lucas needs structure, and for him, that is school. Nevertheless, I think his parents, Cassie and Chris Iverson, did an excellent job of teaching their two children. Because of Lucas’ condition, Cassie and Chris have had to be very “hands on” in his education. Lucas is thriving in his mixed schooling situation, and that is largely to the credit of his parents, who have been teaching their son from his birth, Lucas had some challenges that made early training essential.
I love looking at pictures of the Iverson family. Zoey has been her brother’s champion for the time she was old enough to know her brother was there. She always makes sure that he is included in the activities. It’s not like her parents would leave him out of things, but she has decided that it is her responsibility, so she does her thing. She encourages him to always try harder. She was instrumental in his learning to walk, but more importantly, Zoey has been instrumental in letting people know that her brother can do more than he or anyone else ever thought. Zoey sees an open book where Lucas is concerned. She has no doubt that he can do anything he wants to do. She makes sure he knows that she has confidence in him. She loves him very much.
With schools closed, Lucas and Zoey have been having a sort-of camp/school in their neighborhood. Their mom calls it “Sidewalk School.” It is when the teacher or other volunteer comes to the home of the children, and holds class, outside. These sessions are such a good idea, because so many kids need a measure of student/teacher one-on-one time, and this is a way to do it safely, and effectively. Normally, one-on-one time is a part of the normal class time, but since the school’s are closed, one-on-one time has been thrown out along with the regular class time. I’m just glad that Lucas has so many people in his life, who have picked up the pieces to help him stay on point. Today is Lucas’ birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Chelsea Hadlock came into our lives when she met and then married my nephew, Ryan. None of us knew then how much she would change our lives…especially the lives of my sister, Allyn Hadlock; her husband, Chris; and their girls, Jessi, Lindsay, and Kellie. They received something they didn’t know they were missing. It wasn’t really a thing, but rather a person…Chelsea. They received a daughter-in-law/sister-in-law, who is so caring! Chelsea cares about each of them and each baby. She loves this family she has joined, and she goes out of her way to show each of them just how much she loves and cares about them. Chelsea is an excellent mother to her children Ethan and Aurora, a wonderful aunt to Adelaide and Makenzie, and an awesome sister to Jessi, Lindsay, and Kelli, as well as a wonderful daughter-in-law to Allyn and Chris. We are all blessed to have her in our lives!
Chelsea is super creative. She loves to go to garage sales to see what treasures she can find. You and I might see junk at garage sales, but Chelsea sees furniture and other items that are just waiting to have someone bring out their true beauty. Chelsea is just the person to do so too. She might find a piece of furniture for $5.00, and when she is done, it looks like something out of a magazine. She’s also really thoughtful. If she’s out shopping and she sees something that reminds her of you or of a story or inside joke, she’ll pick it up.
Chelsea has been taking her designs to the various Comic Con events too. She sells them there, and does very well on her trips. She makes all her costumes for the event too. She designs the dresses, cuts the fabric, and sews the entire costume. I know lots of people make clothes, but not many design them too. Chelsea is a very capable designer, who can make her designs into a reality. Now that’s talent.
Chelsea and Ryan bought the house Ryan grew up in from his parents, Allyn and Chris, who had built a house on Chris’ parents land after their passing. They house was filled with all the memories of the Hadlock children’s childhood years. While they love those old memories, they also need to make new memories for their family. Chelsea has been busy adding her personal touches to make the house their own home. The kids all say that the house doesn’t seem like the same house at all. She is adding her own decorations and furniture layout designs. Ryan’s sisters say, We only knew that house as ours growing up, so it’s fun to see them put their touch on things. We love to see how excited she gets and the ideas she has for their home.” Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen is one of the hardest working people I know. She works full time as a CNA at Wyoming Medical Center, while going to nursing school. The hours are long, in both of her ventures. She works nights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday on the surgical floor of the hospital. The life of a CNA is always a busy one. Anyone who has been in the hospital can tell you that they run to call lights, help patients with all their personal needs, help patients with their mobility exercises, help in taking vitals, and so much more. It all adds up to twelve hours on your feet, with a small window of time to sit while charting and such. When she isn’t working or catching a few winks of sleep, Corrie’s time is spent studying, at least during the school year. She studies or goes to class or clinicals many hours a week. It’s really like having two full-time jobs.
Of course, Corrie is all about her family too. She is a wife to Kevin, mom to sons, Chris (and his fiancée) and Josh, and grandma to her little granddaughter. She is also a fur mommy to dogs, Dottie, Izzy, Bella, and to their cat, Zoe. Now the dogs love Corrie but she doesn’t have much time to play, so they really hang with Kevin more. Zoe, on the other hand, wants Corrie’s attention whenever she sits down. Zoe doesn’t understand studying, and whenever Corrie isn’t spending enough time to suit Zoe, she just decides to sit in the middle of Corrie’s book or computer, as if to say, “It’s my turn!! Pay attention to me!!” Corrie tells me that Zoe is her study partner, but I don’t think they were getting much studying done.
Corrie’s life is so busy, and sometimes I don’t know how she manages. She truly gets up in the morning, and runs all day and into the late night, then falls into bed and tries to unwind and sleep. It’s hard to unwind for Corrie, sometimes, because her mind is busy planning out the next day. Still, once in a while, Corrie finds a little bit of time to rest. She told me that she always takes her breaks at work, because she knows she needs that little bit of downtime to properly care for her patients, and I totally agree. A healthcare worker has to take care of themselves too, because if they get sick or exhausted, they are no help to their patients either. Corrie’s work life is all about the people she takes care of. When she went into this field, we talked about the fact that a CNA is often the person the patient sees the most, and so is the one who can effectively change the course of their patients day. A smile, a kind word, and a gentle touch can take a day filed with pain and upset, and change it to a day that is filled with sunshine. That is the ultimate goal for Corrie…bringing the sunshine. Today is Corrie’s birthday. Happy birthday Corrie…you passed your sister again!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Topher Spicer just finished his first year of high school…strange as it might have been. Never before has there been such an unusual ending to a school year, and all because of the Covid-19 virus. We experienced the never-ending spring break, home schooling in families that didn’t intend to home school, and online classes for all grades. Some kids did well, while others struggled with this new reality education. Topher did well. He likes school and learning, and finished his first year of high school with all A’s and B’s. It was something to be proud of.
Topher also had an interesting year, in that he got a job…his first job. Most kids tend to go into retail or fast food for their first job, but Topher managed to land a really interesting job. It has me very impressed. He is working as a tour guide for The Wyoming Frontier Prison. The prison opened in 1901 and could accommodate 104 prisoners. At that time there was no running water, electricity, and very inadequate heating. The 104 cells were in what is now Cell Block A. An addition completed in 1904 added 32 cells. A second addition, adding Cell Block B in 1950, helped alleviate overcrowding. Cell Block C was added in 1966, with 30 cells for the most serious cases. The prison closed in 1987 and became a historic site in 1988…setting the stage for Topher’s first job. Topher, being the innovative guy he is, loves his job, and enjoys making people laugh at the witty things he has come up with for some of the historical information. Many people find history boring, but Topher helps them understand how things were in a very different era, and makes it interesting while he’s at it…now that’s something to be proud of.
Topher is comfortable in his own company. He is an only child, and always finds ways to occupy his mind. He and his mom, my niece, Andrea Spicer, are good friends, and even into his teenage years, they get along very well. Topher is her right-hand man, helping her with things she needs and doing it without complaint…ok, not too much anyway. Topher plans to spend high school building up his art and theatre credits, and then he is considering going to the University of Wyoming, or possibly to South Dakota. I know that whatever Topher decides to do, he will excel at it and continue to make his family proud. Today is Topher’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
New babies are always so much fun for a family to receive. They bring so much joy to the family. Recently, our family was blessed with a new addition when my grand niece, Katy Balcerzak and her partner, Dylan Herr had an adorable baby boy named Max Robert Herr. Max was born on June 14, 2020, at 5:41pm after a 17 hour labor that ended in a rather dangerous and terrifying delivery proceeded by 3½ hours of pushing. During the delivery, Katy spiked a high temperature, and little Max’s heart rate slowed, but the Lord took care of them, and they came through with flying colors. We are very thankful for the happy ending of that labor that brought them their sweet Max, who weighed in at 8 pounds 14 0.ounces, and was 21¼ inches long.
While Max made a dramatic entrance into the world, his life since then has been much more relaxed. He is a sweet, easy going baby, who is very mellow and loves to be held…preferably all the time. Right now, he loves to sleep…so much so, that his parents have to wake him up to eat most of the time. Max loves his daddy very much, but at this point, he is a mama’s boy who calms right down when Katy picks him up. He loves his mommy’s voice, and their bond is one that comes from spending nine months connecting to each other. Such a sweet bond, between mother and son.
Max is been receiving visitors from time to time. Dylan’s parents, brother, and sister-in-law have come by to meet him and get a few cuddles. And Katy’s mom is visiting right now, and Katy says she is the “Baby Whisperer.” Grandma’s do have a knack when it comes to their grandbabies. Most of Katy’s family live in Casper Wyoming, so many of us have not had a chance to meet little Max yet, but we are all looking forward to meeting him very soon. They are planning a visit to Casper over the 4th of July. In the meantime, we are very much enjoying all the pictures that Katy and Dylan are sharing with us. Max, for his part, is taking everything in stride. He had decided that he is a happy, social baby, dazzling his visitors with cuddles and smiles, and everyone loves it. Welcome to the world Max Robert Herr!! We love you already!!
Father’s Day is a holiday that is harder for me since my dad and my father-in-law have gone to Heaven. Nevertheless, I feel very honored to have had the dads that I did. Both of my dads, Allen Spencer and Walt Schulenberg, were both men of honor, of whom we were all able to be so proud. They loved their families unconditionally, and we were so blessed to know them. I know they are both in Heaven now, and very happy. While we miss them, they are both doing so well, and are living in their reward. I can just picture them now…smiling, happy, well, and strong. I couldn’t ask for anything more for them.
As to Father’s Day…well, it has taken on a new meaning these days. Now, after thinking about the dad’s who aren’t with us, my thoughts center on the dads that are in my life today…my husband, Bob Schulenberg; sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce; and my grandson, Chris Petersen. All of the dads who are still with us are wonderful men, who love their families deeply. Their children are their greatest blessings. They are all great dads. The one thing I have noticed about these men is the different parenting styles. They are different, but all great dads, and in the end, they all have one thing in common. They love their families. No family could ask for anything more, because they already have the very best.
Life is hectic, whether these guys are retired or working. They are busy and yet they still find time to be there for the people they love. They are always doing things that make the lives of their families better. Each of these men are talented in different ways, and it is those talents that have blessed their families so much. Each was unique, and yet very special in their own ways, but each has endeared himself to me because of their special talents. I love the way they have enriched the lives of me, my kids, grandkids, and great granddaughter. I couldn’t ask for better men for any of us. Happy Father’s Day to the dads in my life, and to all the dads out there.