boy

For my nephew, Eric Parmely, married life has mostly been about being outnumbered by girls…at least since he and his wife, Ashley started having children. Don’t get me wrong here…Eric wanted girls. He came from a family with three boys, and he was the youngest. He had always wanted to have a daughter, and really never expected to have one. Let’s face it, in a family of all boys, having a girl is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Eric and Ashley beat the odds and had not only one daughter, Reagan, but were blessed with a second daughter, Hattie.

Eric and Ashley had purchased a house in the country, next door to her parents. They wanted the country life, and with her parents horses, they knew that they would be able to give their children the kind of life they wanted for them. Living in the country and having animals, is something they are all interested in. The girls don’t care that farming and caring for animals is a “dirty” job, because they love their animals. They get right out there and help their Daddy and Mommy with whatever they are doing on the farm.

Eric’s life is full and happy, but now…if it is possible, his life is going to get even more full. They are now expecting a little boy to join their family in the near future. While Eric and now his little boy will still be outnumbered by the girls in the family, they can at least say that they have each other when outnumbering becomes an issue. Although, when in coms to getting into the bathroom when teenaged girls are in there…all bets are off. It’s going to be fun to watch the transition from all girls to a boy in the family, and I know that they many stages that are to come will be lots of fun for both Eric and Ashley. And after all, it’s all about building a life. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Growing up, I didn’t have any brothers, and in fact, other than my dad, there weren’t any guys in the family at all until my sister, Cheryl got married, and they lived most of those early years in upstate New York. I wasn’t around him much. So, I never had a little brother until I married my husband, Bob Schulenberg, and his little 7 year old brother, Ron Schulenberg became my brother-in-law. Bob, Ron, and I got along well even during the time we were dating, and he often went places with us…a privilege he found quite acceptable. He was a good kid, and we enjoyed being around him. When I think about the fact that Ron has been my brother-in-law for almost 42 years now, I just can’t imagine life without him. I never really felt deprived of a brother, but then I never thought of Ron as a brother-in-law either. He was my little brother…from the time I first met him. I think it was a good thing Ron and I got along so well, because he and Bob have always been close. They were the only boys in a family of six kids, so banding together was kind of a necessity, and over the years they have always been able to count on each other for any help needed, and just to be friends too. These days, their age difference doesn’t seem like much, but there are almost 14 years between them. Back then, I suppose it was odd for Bob to hang out with his little brother, but for the most part Bob enjoyed having Ron around.

Some things were a little hard for Ron, and I felt kind of bad about that. Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg, worked so well together at fixing things up on the place, fixing the cars, and even building the garage, and because of his age, Ron always seemed to be in the way. He wanted to help too…so badly. It’s hard, in the middle of something you need to get done, to stop and teach a little 7 or 8 year old boy how he can be of some help. Of course, as time went on, Ron grew up and he became a great help to his dad and brother. I’m sure that to him, it felt like he had “finally arrived.” That was a big day for Ron. I don’t know if he ever regretted that day, because once you can help, you have fewer days to play, but then, I don’t thing Ron cared about that at all.

I think that for Ron, the role of parent is the one he has always wanted the most…besides husband, of course. After he married his wife Rachel, Ron became dad to her children, Cassie, Riley, and Tucker. Cassie is married, and Riley lives in Powell, but Tucker is at home, and as far as he is concerned, Ron is his only daddy. He is the man who is there for him. Ron is the role model that Tucker wants and needs. They are a great little team, and I am so happy for Ron, because this has made his life complete. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday Ron!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

William Malrose SpencerAs this day has approached, I have found it very hard to believe that my Uncle Bill Spencer, my dad’s brother, is turning 95 years old today. I remember the uncle from my childhood, full of life, and exciting stories. He was the man who taught me the game of Cribbage and challenged me to try to beat him. He never gave me the game, but rather made it a true victory when I was able to beat him. He never made me feel like a failure when I lost either, but rather told me that every game I played made me a better player, and he was right. I loved the times we had together playing cribbage. It will always be one of my favorite memories of my uncle. Over the years, we tried in vain to figure out a way to play long distance. That was one challenge that beat us. I suppose that in the age of computers, we might have found a way.

Uncle Bill is a unique kind of person, in that he found something he was interested in when he was just an 8 year old boy, and he never lost his passion for it. For Uncle Bill, that passion was for his 08082014_0010family genealogy. As a young boy, he saw a little black book his mother was working on. It was a simple record book of the family members she knew of at the time, but for Uncle Bill, it was a challenge. He was hooked, and for as long has his memory lasted, Uncle Bill continued digging for more information. His work would take him on many trips to pour through libraries, county records, state records, and to walk miles and miles of cemeteries. He had a need to find out about his past. He found himself feeling annoyed when people didn’t properly mark photos and documents, with important information, such as who was in the picture, when it was taken, and what was going on. So much information is so easily lost because someone didn’t take a moment to properly document a picture. Since I have looked over all his work, I can understand his frustration, because there are pictures that we know the relationship of, but not the name of the person, and some people we don’t know anything about at all. And no way to find out. History lost…maybe forever.

Searching for gravesWhen my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce were in grade school, they had an assignment concerning their family history. My mom, Collene Spencer said I should get a hold of my Uncle Bill…his reputation as the family historian had preceded him. I called him, and he sent what was needed for their assignments. That was awesome, but it was not the end of the story. With Uncle Bill’s way of peaking my interest, I have picked up the torch and I am running with it. I pray that I can do him proud. Uncle Bill has dementia now, and doesn’t remember that he was working on the family history, Still, I pray that I, and others like me, can carry on his legacy for him, so that history will not be lost in this family. Today is Uncle Bill’s 95th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Bill!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

999970_10205491159385935_2192146512980116356_nMy grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock, who is the son of my nephew Ryan Hadlock and his wife, Chelsea, is such a sweet boy. I had the chance to talk to my sister, Alena Stevens, who works at Verda James Elementary School, where Ethan and his sister Aurora go to school, and I asked her about Ethan from a school perspective…not because I expected him to be very different than he is at home, but because she would see him from a different perspective than his parents or grandparents. What she told me, was a very nice, pleasant surprise, in a way, and yet, not totally unexpected, because as she told me about it, I could totally see Ethan in her words.

Alena told me that Ethan is a good boy, and a good student, a fact that was corroborated by his mother’s words that he is rated as exceptional in his class in reading and math. For a parent, hearing that your children are well behaved and well liked in school, is quite 934776_10202457190138600_8886166836631068153_nrewarding, because it speaks to their parenting skills. Ryan and Chelsea are good parents, and they have raised beautiful, loving children. Alena told me that he made friends quickly and easily, when he came to Verda James, and as anyone who has changed schools before will tell you, making new friends can be hard. Not for Ethan though. He is just such a pleasant, kind, and well behaved boy, that kids are naturally drawn to him. Ethan is always cheerful, and as I said, kind, and one thing that sometimes doesn’t happen…good to his little sister. He always makes sure that she is where she needs to be, and that she has everything she needs. You often see a little girl who motherly, but boys don’t always take the time to help their younger siblings. Ethan is an exception to that rule. As much as he is all boy, he is still good to Aurora, and that makes his stand out to those adults, and children too, around him. Ethan is starting to get into Lego Robotics, and really loves it. He still loves Star Wars, and enjoys playing Minecraft too.

11052885_10206375593498903_3791205809575654238_nProbably the most surprising thing that my sister told me was the little story about the Book Fair. She told me that Ethan doesn’t like to burden anyone. He wanted a book from the Book Fair, but didn’t want to bother his mom by asking for the money. He kept bringing what he had from home not knowing it wasn’t enough. Nevertheless, he tried to get a little more money and even brought in a gift card he had received. The librarian felt so bad that he didn’t have enough, so she just took what he had and gave him the book. Knowing his parents, as we do, we know that his mom would have gladly given him the money, but he just didn’t want to burden her. What a kind, loving boy!! Today is Ethan’s 8th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! You are never a burden!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

mid-air-collision-over-new-york-citypark-slope-plane-crashWith the thousands of airplanes in the air at any moment, one might think that daily accidents would be common place, but in reality, air travel is actually very safe. Nevertheless, it is not without its tragedies. What tends to amaze me, however, is the fact that relatively few ever seem to crash in a city, even though the airports are usually very near cities. Still, there is not a perfect record of missing the cities, when it comes to plane crashes either, and when a plane crashes in a city, you know that the death toll will be higher, and more than likely will include people on the ground, who were just going about their day, completely unaware of the danger they were in.

Such was the case on this day, December 16, 1960, in New York City, when two commercial airliners, a United new-york-city-crashDC-8 from Chicago, that was heading to Idlewild Airport…now renamed John F Kennedy International Airport, in southern Queens, and a TWA Super Constellation from Dayton, Ohio that was heading to LaGuardia Airport in northern Queens, collided over the city, killing 134 people in the planes and on the ground. This remains the only such accident to occur over a major US city to this day. It was snowing that morning, and the United flight had been put into a holding pattern. Unfortunately, the pilot miscalculated the location of the pattern, the plane came directly into the path of the TWA flight, who was on approach to LaGuardia Airport. There were 128 people onboard the two planes, and all of them, except eleven year old Stephen Baltz were killed on impact. The boy would die from his injuries the next day, but he was lucid enough to give a brief account of the accident, saying that, “It looked like a picture out of a fairy book. Then all of a sudden there was an explosion. The plane started to fall and people started to scream. I held on to my seat and then the plane crashed.”

The TWA plane crashed onto Miller Field, a military airfield on Staten Island. The United flight, which was missing its right engine and part of a wing, came down in the middle of the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, narrowly missing Saint Augustine’s Academy. It hit an apartment building and the Pillar of Fire Church. Dozens of other buildings caught fire in the resulting explosion. Mrs Robert Nevin, who was sitting in a park-slope-plane-crash-1960 park-slope-airplane-crashtop floor apartment when the place crashed into her building, later said “The roof caved in and I saw the sky.” Six people on the ground died when the plane crashed, including the 90 year old caretaker of the church, Wallace Lewis, and two men who were selling Christmas trees nearby. Christmas presents carried by the plane’s passengers were strewn all over the streets. Firefighting efforts went on for nearly 72 hours because of the multiple fires.

imageimageKids grow up so fast. It seems like yesterday that our family welcomed my grand nephew, Easton Moore. In reality, that was twelve years ago today. Easton is in his first year of middle school this year, and he is having a great time. Kids do so much changing in that first year of middle school. It always seems like they literally go from being a little kid to a young adult…overnight. Easton is still too young to participate in sports, because the kids have to be in 7th grade for that, and he is in 6th grade, but that hasn’t stopped Easton from practicing his moves. Easton spends a lot of his spare time playing football, swimming, track, and basketball. He wants to make sure that he knows a lot about every sport…keeping his options open, don’t you know. As with most middle school kids, Easton really loves having his locker. It’s such a grown up thing for kids to have a locker that they can have their own things in, and it’s all safe, because it locks. Add to that, the newness of going from class to class, rather than staying in one room all day, and you have a whole new experience.

Like his dad, Easton is very much an outdoors kind of guy. Whenever the family goes camping, his dad, Steve Moore, brings his guns and works with Ethan and his older brother, Weston, teaching them how to shoot, as well as gun safety. Easton has become an excellent shot. Last week, Easton’s parents took him to Cody, Wyoming from their home in Powell. They had had found a good deal on a 22 long rifle, and the told Easton that it was to be his birthday present. As you can imagine, and see from this picture, it was as if they had handed him the moon. I seriously doubt if he could sit still the whole drive over to Cody. Getting your first gun is so cool. All you can think of is the next time you can go out shooting. He will have and even better time now, when they go camping and shooting, because he will be shooting his own gun. Of course, that makes you a better shot too, because you learn how the gun is going to react.

Easton is still into Legos too. That has amazed me over the years. Not that Easton is still into them, but rather what Legos have become. Whoever thought up Lego Robotics, had a really good idea. Many a child had learned from that. Like most kids his age, Easton also likes video games. His favorites are Legos and Mindcraft on Xbox. The family got a new Xbox Live for Christmas, so he can really expand his building abilities.

Easton is a good helper around the house too. Many kids whine and cry about having to clean, but he and the rest of his family have taken a pitch in and get it done attitude, so the cleaning gets done really quickly, leaving imageimagemore time to play. He is also a snuggler, and believe me, every mom or grandma who has one of those, is very blessed. Lots of kids, especially boys get over that pretty quickly, and when they are done, it’s a lonely sad feeling for their mom or grandma. Easton’s mom, my niece, Machelle Cook Moore, takes all the snuggles she can get, while she can get them. She knows that all too soon, he will be too “old” for snuggles. For now though, he’s still her snuggly boy. Today is Easton’s birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! Enjoy that new rifle, sharp shooter. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Young Dave ChaseIt isn’t very often that we have the chance to get just a little glimpse of what a man was really like, as a child. Oh, we might think we know what the child was like, mostly because all kids are the same…or pretty close to it, right. In reality, I think we would be very wrong. Every child is unique, and unless someone wrote things down, no one will ever really know the truth. That said, I have to say that, while I have never met my nephew, Dave Chase’s mother, Nancy, I find myself quite impressed with her anyway. I hope she doesn’t mind that I read her incredible account of her precious children. That she took the time to write about her children starting when the boys, Dave and Danny were just three and two, and later added little sister, Janie was amazing in it’s own right, but the insight she gave into the real person each of them was is even more amazing. I wish I could tell you about all three of the children, but I will focus on my niece Toni Masterson Chase’s husband, Dave.

I have always known that Dave was a smart man, but in his mother’s writings, there are so many little insights into the kind of man Dave would become. He was much that way from the time he was a child. Oh, there were the typical little three year old boy things in her writings, such as calling a helicopter, a “Heepercopter!” in a voice filled with the excitement that only a child can display. There were the typical fights with his brother Danny, just a year younger than Dave was. Yes, Dave fought with his brother, true enough, but often, he would fix the fight without letting his little brother know the truth…that Dave was kind of a softie where his brother was concerned. Still, there was something else that Dave’s mother saw in her oldest son. There was the little boy who piled all his favorite songs, poems, and sayings into his prayers to God, because it was the very best things he had to give to God.

Nancy commented on her son’s memory, which she called elephantine, when he mentioned a bee in the car the prior summer on a trip to Wyoming. Dave was just two at the time. Dave was also quite logical. When told that a girl had butterflies in her tummy, he quickly remarked that, “No girl eats BUTTERFLIES!” His remark almost Toni and Daveimplied that no girl would have the guts to eat butterflies…and almost that maybe a boy would. Being the big brother was a big responsibility. When Dave’s baby sister, Janie arrived, he wanted to make sure she knew who he was, so he would introduce himself, saying “oo know me, baby, David Chase” repeatedly. I think Janie knew his name pretty early on. After all, he was her big brother, and he made her feel important. When given an explanation of how the sun “burned off” the fog over the base, Dave commented, “the sun is smart.” I think that this little boy was smart…and quite possibly the apple of his mother’s eye…along with his siblings of course. Today is Dave’s birthday. Nancy, thank you for this little bit of insight into your boy, who is now a special part of our family. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Amy & Corrie with gifts they made for Jessica Lynn Christmas 1984With Christmas fast approaching, I am reminded of the Christmas of 1984. With their cousin Jessica Hadlock Sawdon, arriving shortly before Christmas, my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce wanted to do something special for her…even though they didn’t know then if the baby was a boy or a girl. We could have gone and purchased a blanket, an outfit, or a toy, but so could anyone else. The girls wanted their gift to be different from what everyone else was going to give. They were learning to crochet, and so it was decided that Corrie would make a blanket and Amy would make a bonnet. They worked very hard on their gifts, and on Christmas morning, they proved to be a stunning success. My girls beamed with pride at how their gifts were received.

Chris and Allyn Hadlock with blanket made for Jessica by CorrieSo often, these days, Christmas has become so commercialized that it often isn’t about the gift given, but rather about just how much was spent on it, that seems to matter. But, on that Christmas, for my girls, it was about their gift being made with love. Every stitch they put in the blanket and bonnet was a learning experience for them, and they couldn’t wait to see what their Aunt Allyn and Uncle Chris Hadlock thought of the gifts they had worked so hard on. Needless to say, the blanket and bonnet were very happily received. Their gift was a huge success, and no one gave a thought to how much money was or was not spent on it.

There were a lot of gifst given that day, and I’m sure that many were wonderful, and very much appreciated, but I also know that my sister, her husband, and now Jessi all remember the gifts that were made and given with love by two little girls who loved their new cousin very Allyn Hadlock with bonnet made for Jessica by Amymuch, even though they did not know her yet and in fact, didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. The things we do for people out of love, while not necessarily expensive, are often the most treasured of the many things we receive over the years. They can’t be measured in a monitary way, because they are indeed priceless.

As Christmas approaches, of course, the most important thing to remember is the reason for the season…Jesus…the Saviour of the world. Jesus was the greatest gift, but in today’s world, I think it is always a good idea to remember more than just the gifts we received, but rather the spirit in which they were given. Whenever we act in love, we give the greatest gift we could have given…ourselves. And that is priceless for sure.

37318_1282517634721_2551061_n[1]66008_1427715420448_3098557_nThat my niece, Chelsea Hadlock is a fashionista is a fact that no one will dispute. She has a style that is all her own, and it’s a style that a lot of girls wish they could pull off too. Yet, Chelsea does it with ease. She doesn’t mind a look that makes her stand out in a crowd. In fact, she thrives in just such a setting. When I was thinking about today’s story, I decided to enlist the help of a little birdy who knew Chelsea well…her friend, Sydney Hanson. Sydney told me about the Theme Party Queen. You see, our Chelsea loves to dress up, and I’m not just talking about in the latest style. Chelsea has a great imagination, and probably would have fit in quite well at the Masquerade Balls of yesteryear. Sydney tells me that she and Chelsea met after they graduated from high school, and in their before kids days, Chelsea was the one who went all…and I do mean all out for the theme parties they both attended. I have always known that Halloween is Chelsea’s favorite holiday, but I wasn’t aware that it is all about the costumes. I have to wonder if Chelsea just loves escaping to that imaginary, fantasy world the runs 10676195_10202953479705529_3463465173877702689_n[1]around in her mind and imagination.

I’ve noticed that imagination in different areas of Chelsea’s life as well. Her Christmas tree always has a theme. She owns several sets of ornaments. I suppose people might think that strange, but Chelsea always has a beautiful Christmas tree…so think what you want to, but I think it’s cool. As to birthday parties…well, Chelsea really shines here. Her children, Ethan and Aurora will be the envy of all their friends…if they aren’t already. Chelsea is a great mom, but when she was pregnant with Ethan, she was convinced that he was a girl. Thankfully she found out before he was born or he would have come home to a pink princess themed room, for sure. Chelsea and her mom, Debbie Moss were about half scared at the thought of her having a son. It was like…what are we going to do with a boy. Now, I can relate to that, because having two daughters of my own, the three grandsons I have were a real culture shock too. Nevertheless, like me, Chelsea stepped into that role of the mother of a son, with ease and style. I would have expected nothing less. She still got her girl, and Aurora is a girly girl if there ever was one. So they are two of a kind, and both are fashionistas. I love the outfits Chelsea comes up with for them…often matching or almost matching…there’s that theme party queen again.

There is, however, one thing that I have never seen, and Sydney says Chelsea never does. That is to wear sweatpants out in public. I suppose they are not stylish enough, and we all know that Chelsea is all about style. Hadlocks 20141798869_10201526072461240_972577765_naNow, I know that lots of people have worn sweat out in public…me included, but you have to admit that it isn’t a fashion statement. In fact, you are probably feeling the least good about yourself when you wear them. I know that’s what it was for me. Or maybe you are just a person who likes sweats for the comfort. Either way, they are not fashionista wear, nor are they the kind of thing you would ever see on a Theme Party Queen. Today is Chelsea’s birthday. Happy birthday Chelsea!! Always stay the beautiful girl, inside and out, that you are today. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Walt & Joann - the dating yearsSixty six years ago, when the bitterly cold winter of 1949 was finally over and spring had finally arrived, my mother-in-law, Joann Knox was a young girl of eighteen, and she was in love. She had known her future husband and the love of her life, Walter Schulenberg, all her life. Still, knowing him didn’t mean they were always in love, or even that they liked each other. Little kids can be friends with someone, and then when they get older, things change. Then, as was the case with my in-laws, things can change again. That annoying teenaged boy or girl suddenly takes on a new look to you. Suddenly, the time is right, and they both wonder why they didn’t see this person this way before. That’s how it was for my in-laws. Grandma Knox, Joann’s mom told me once that after they got older, Mom didn’t like Dad one bit. I would guess that was probably in his bratty adolescent years, when most boys are awkward around girls…especially if they like them at all.

As the years went by, Walt and Joann moved in different circles, and didn’t really see each other very much, but then one day, he noticed her again. My mother-in-law wasn’t too sure how she felt about his new found interest in her, as she still thought of him as a bit of an annoying boy, but if you knew my father-in-law at all, you would know that he had a winning personality, and it was really hard not to like him. That is what my mother-in-law found too. Before long, they were an item. First meeting them after many years of marriage, and meeting them is a more reserved situation…for my mother-in-law at least, I never saw the love struck side of their early relationship. I don’t think their kids really did either. Their love letters, written during the times he was working one place and she another, were tender and sweet. It was such a surprise to see those letters, because they just never seemed to me to be the googly eyed kind of couple, and yet, here in their letters, they were.
Walter & Joann Schulenberg wedding day 1949
As time passed, their future plans began to grow, and when Joann graduated, they decided to be married. Like their granddaughter, Corrie Petersen, my daughter, they didn’t wait very long after graduation. The wedding took place on the 5th anniversary of D-Day, a fact that I seriously doubt that either of them gave a single thought to…at least not that year. Like many marriages of that time, it was a simple wedding…much like my own parents’ wedding just a few years later. My mother-in-law wore a simple peach colored dress and my father-in-law a suit. Nevertheless, it was for them the perfect day…the culmination of the many years of an on again, off again friendship, now turned to a forever kind of love. Today marks the 66th anniversary of that wedding day, and while my father-in-law has been gone now for two years, my mother-in-law is still alive, and since she does not realize that he is gone, we will still tell her happy anniversary…at the same time that we tell her that Dad is out in the garage working on a car, or at Walmart, or visiting the neighbors, because to tell her he is gone would be just too mean. Happy anniversary to my in-laws, Walt…in Heaven, and Joann, here on Earth. Have a wonderful day. We love you both very much.

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