fun

With each new anniversary, I find myself feeling more and more blessed. The years have flown by, but that is what they say about time, and having fun. For Bob and me, life has been just that…fun. No, we haven’t lived life without any challenges, but all in all, they were minor, and life really was fun. I don’t know how we managed to always be going in the same direction, with the same goals and ideas about life, but that’s what we did. The word soulmates comes to mind. We are very like-minded people. An idea may not necessarily have appeared to both of us at the same time, but when it did, it was usually something we both agreed upon right away. How does that happen? Soulmates…that’s how it happens.

When Bob and I met, there was instant chemistry. My heart skipped a beat just looking at him. Of course, I can tell you that he would probably say, “What does that mean?” That’s because he is a man. He felt the same things, but describing the feelings that way is totally another story. Still, there were so many ways in which he showed those feelings to me. One of the biggest was the way in which he showed how important our anniversary was to him. Most years, he took the day off work, because it should always be spent together. There were very few exceptions to his self-imposed rule. In 45 years, I can say that he probably took 42 off work…and the ones he couldn’t were a huge disappointment to him.

Bob and I just like to be together. We are best friends and working partners, even though we never worked at a job together. We still work well together. Home projects, caring for parents, and even mechanics, were done together. I knew I could count on him, and he knew he could count on me. There is no one I would rather work next to on any project, loved one, car…or anything else. I have found the best partner and soulmate for me, and I am looking forward to the next…say 54 years, since we plan to live to be 120!! I’d say that 99 years of marriage would be a good goal…whether anyone else believes it or not. We can shoot for what we want to. Happy 45th anniversary to my sweet husband, Bob!! I love you very much Honey!!

Shortly after our daughter, Amy (Schulenberg) Royce was born, we knew that she was destined to be…little, but only in stature. At just 4 feet 10 inches tall, Amy is quite short, a full 3 inches shorter that her not very tall sister, Corrie (Schulenberg) Petersen. Nevertheless, when it comes to her personality, abilities, intelligence, and her kind heart…she somehow packs a whole lot into that tiny frame. Amy has always lived her life well beyond her size, and nobody ever tried to tell her she couldn’t do something, because she knew that she could do anything she put her mind to.

When Amy met her husband, Travis, she was very quickly sure that this guy was the one who could keep the fun and laughter in her life, and he certainly has done that. His favorite nick name for her is Midget, and I must admit that it fits. Partly because of her size, Travis loves midget wrestling, which has become a thing these days. Who would have known. That’s the thing she loved about him. He could turn most situations into something fun and full of humor.

Amy first began working in the insurance industry at the young age of 15, when she worked in the office I worked in doing filing, phones, and typing. I was just trying to help her get a job as a kid, who knew that it would be the beginning of a future lifelong career for her. During her teen years, she needed more hours than we could give her, so she went to work in fast food, and then on to daycare, the hotel industry, and an office job in an industrial training facility. Then her journey came full circle, when she was hired in the insurance office I was working at then…The Stengel Agency. It was there that she got licenses, and became an excellent insurance agent. When her family decided to move to Washington state, her insurance background netted her several job offers. Now things have come full circle again…so to speak, because her daughter, Shai Royce, who also worked with us at The Stengel Agency, is now working at the same agency that Amy, her mom, works at now…Rice Insurance, and they are both very excited about that. Sometimes it is all in who you know, but I think insurance is in their blood, because if you can’t understand insurance, you will never be a good agent. They both understand insurance, just like their mom and grandma…me. Today is Amy’s birthday, and I am very excited for this new aspect of her life…sharing a career with her daughter and friend. Not bad for a midget!! Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Jessi Sawdon is a woman of many talents. First and foremost, she is a great wife and mother. Her husband Jason is a Wyoming Highway Patrolman, and Jessi make a perfect partner for him in all work related events, as he does for her. Together they have a beautiful little girl named Adelaide. Jessi stays quite busy keeping up with Adelaide, who is a little girl on the go. Adelaide is starting to talk very well, and she had begun to remind her grandparents of her mommy as she was growing up. My sister, Allyn Hadlock, Jessi’s mom tells me that she finds many of the things Adelaide says and does funny, because Adelaide does some of the same things Jessi used to do at that age. If Jessi wants Adelaide to do something she will tell Adelaide, “I’ll do it” and then Adelaide is SURE to do it! We used to use that same reverse psychology on Jessi and she would do what we wanted every time! Ally says it is hilarious! I think that Jessi learned from her parents, and now that knowledge is working for her with Adelaide too, in quite a comical way, I think.

Jessi’s sister, Lindsay says that Jessi is the coordinator of all the things. That made me laugh, because my mind went back to a younger Jessi, as she arranged things with the other children. One time was when she was trying to get her cousin Michelle to cooperate in a picture, and when things didn’t go well, Jessi glared at Michelle. That made a better picture than the planned take Jessi was trying to accomplish. Lindsay told me that Jessi was very good at “coordinating us.” I think I have to agree with Lindsay on that. Lindsay also said “As a sister, she is always good at making you laugh, cheering you up if your down, and just calling to talk. She is the best at movie quotes.”

Jessi takes great pride in her community, and Casper is very blessed to have her promotion it. She has been working with David Street Station, professionally. Jessi is a marketing professional at Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications. She also designs websites and does pictures and videos for the company and their clients. One nice thing for Jessi at this time in her life and career, is the fact that she gets to work from home. The owners of Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications are two friends of Jessi’s. The company is fairly new, but they doing very well and they are already very busy. Aside from being a great marketing professional for the Davis street station, Jessi loves to attend all the fun things going on there, and to make sure everyone knows what’s going on in Casper. She really is an advocate for all things Casper. Yes, they are clients for her work, but they are so much more than that to Jessi. And Jessi always knows what is going on in Casper and she is seriously involved! She loves to shop local, eat local and play local! Jason and Adelaide are frequently with Jessi at events they promote, so it is a fun time for the whole family. today is Jessi’s birthday. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As a girl, I like many other girls became a Girl Scout. It was a group of girls having fun, while learning things and earning badges. The group was founded on March 12, 1912, and turns 105 years old today. The organization, called Girl Scouts, was founded in Savannah, Georgia by a woman named Juliette Gordon Low. She was born in 1860, and became a widow in 1905. She needed something…a cause. She had suffered through a bad marriage to a man who cheated on her and left most of his estate to his mistress. She wanted to help young women become self-sufficient…a cause borne out of her own experiences of feeling defined by the era’s roles for women, so she came up with the idea of a group that would teach young women about their worth and abilities. She first worked with a Scottish organization called Girl Guides and then founded the first American branch of the group in 1912, but she decided to break away and further develop her young women’s scouting association on her own. She soon changed the organization’s name to the Girl Scouts, and became the organization’s first president.

Low hoped to give her girls the opportunity to grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually, Low started the organization with just 18 girls in attendance at that first meeting. Low was an athlete, as well as an art lover. Her dream was to teach the girls that they could do anything. She wanted her girls to find out that they could help out in so many ways, and she definitely proved that. The Girl Scouts of America were very involved with the war effort back home during both World War I and World War II. They sold war bonds, collected peach pits for gas masks…peach pits were used as filters, worked in hospitals, and provided hands-on support to the country and the troops. Then, during the 1930s, when the Great Depression hit, the Girl Scouts again stepped up to the plate, collecting clothing and canned goods for the poor, making them quilts, providing meals for impoverished children, and helping out at hospitals.

During my time in the Girl Scouts, I can’t say that I did anything that was as life changing as the Girl Scouts of days gone by, but I did enjoy my time as a scout. We learned many skills that earned us badges to wear on our sash, and some of those skills are still things I use today. The camaraderie that I felt as a Girl Scout was amazing. Some of the best friendships of my childhood were formed in those meetings. Those are years I will never forget, and I owe it all to Juliette Gordon Low, and her inspired ideas about what girls could be. Juliette Gordon Low died of breast cancer in 1927, in her Savannah, Georgia home. She was 66 years old. It was her request that she be buried in her Girl Scout uniform, because her years with the Girl Scouts were truly the happiest hears of her life. She also requested that a telegram from the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA be placed in her pocket. It read, “You are not only the first Girl Scout, you are the best Girl Scout of them all.”

Young ShawnIn the relatively short time that our family has really reconnected with our cousins on my dad’s side, I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know my cousin Shawn Fredrick. I have to say that his personality has been such a pleasant surprise. For some reason I always thought of Shawn as really shy and serious, but now I know that he has an amazing sense of humor, and a real talent for history, especially family history. I think that part is in his blood. His grandma, my Aunt Laura Spencer Fredrick, and his great uncle, my Uncle Bill Spencer, have been studying family history for a long time…as have his Uncle Dennis Fredrick, and his dad, Gene Fredrick, both of whom are my cousins, and of course, his older brother, Tim Fredrick. I’m sure that Shawn and Tim got into the history about the same time, with their dad’s interest in it, and he was helping Uncle Bill with copies, layouts, scanning, and researching. Nevertheless, once you start looking at family history, it is very easy to become additced to it…I should know.

I find, the more I get to know Shawn, that we think a lot alike…especially politically, which I love, but for the sake of my friends who disagree with me politically, I won’t go into now. Nevertheless, I think Shawn and I have a similar sense of humor too, because we also seem to find the same things funny. Shawn likes trivia, which is, in my opinion, a lot of fun too. I love to see what might have happened on a certain day in history, or even just learn about unusual facts. I think Shawn is a lot like that too, because of the things he posts on Facebook. I really like the way Shawn explains the things he is telling you about. He is very thorough, and when he is done telling you the story, you really feel like you know what was going on. Not everyone has the ability to tell a story in a way that makes you feel like you are there too.

I think both Shawn and Tim are very intelligent men, and both are very excellent computer programmers, but they both also love woodworking, which is another thing that is in their genes, through their dad, Gene, grandfather Fritz Fredrick, and great grandfather, Allen Luther Spencer, and probably other people on the Fredrick side of the family too. Their dad made beautiful dressers, desks, and cabinets, and taught them how to Shawn Fredrickmake them too. Still, I’m not sure that just anyone could learn that. I believe it takes a bit of inherited talent too. I am not sure that I could make anything that would look like it was anything much, and that is one area that Shawn and I differ greatly. Of course, not all of his projects are geared toward beauty, necessarily, some like the mirror that fell, are geared toward functionality, with a little humor mixed in, as you can see from Shawn’s comment about that project. “My mirror fell in the middle of the night and shattered so in the tradition of my father for sturdy building projects that never have to be fixed again, I just installed another one with drywall anchors rated at 60 pounds. Unless we have a 7.0 earthquake, it’s not coming down again in my lifetime” No, I’m sure it won’t Shawn. Like your brother said, “When Mt. Cheyenne suddenly and unexpectedly erupts and the pyroclastic flow brings down mirrors across the city, yours will be standing!” If you can pull that off, you are a great craftsman. Seriously though, Shawn is a very talented man, and I am proud to call him my cousin.

The SwingsI don’t know about you, but as a kid in grade school, recess was maybe the best part of the day…if you could get to the swings faster than anyone else. At the school I went to anyway, the swings were the one playground item everyone wanted to be on, and if you were a little slower getting there, you missed out. That usually meant that the younger students had to find something else to do…until they got older anyway. There was no time limit to be on the swings, but most of the kids were pretty good about swinging for a while and then getting off, but then recess was only 15 minutes long, so how much time did that leave the rest of the kids…not much.

The fight to get to the swings first, and the ultimate lose of that battle for many Caryn - about 5 years oldchildren, did very little to sway them from trying to get there, however. Every recess, the bell would ring, and the doors to the playground burst open as the kids ran for the swings. Of course, a few tears were inevitable, because there are always the little fights and little ones don’t always lose well, but all in all, they learned pretty quickly that the best solution to the problem, was to practice your running. The faster you are, the more likely you will end up with a swing.

This whole process goes on for a time, and then about 6th grade, which was still in grade school when I was a kid, the kids aren’t so interested in the swings anymore. They have started to mature some and look forward to being more like the kids in junior high, or middle school as it is known today. Playing on the swings was suddenly Caryn and Bob share a laughbeneath them. How quickly things change. One year, you are fighting over the swings, and the next you are acting like all those little kids are so far beneath you that it is completely unbelievable.

Now flash forward a few years, and…well, I don’t know about you, but it’s funny how much fun those swings can be when you are on a date with your boyfriend. Of course, anything is romantic when you are on a date, right? In the years I dated my husband, Bob, I can’t count how many times we ended up at the park swinging on the swings like little kids. It seemed so different from those grade school days, somehow. It wasn’t nearly as juvenile as it used to be. Now it was romantic…and fun again.

Pick me UpDog PileWhile we were visiting many of our family members in Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota, our cousin, Bill Spencer surprised us with a copy of a slide show that he had put together for his family. We were so busy while we were there, that there was no time to take a look at the slide show. When I got home, I looked at it briefly, but nothing really in depth. Yesterday, I took another look…a longer look. I had no idea what a gold mine that slide show would turn out to be. As I watched it, I felt like I had been instantly transported back in time. It was so fun to look at those old shots of all of us as kids. It also felt just a little bit lonely when I looked at holiday pictures from the time right after we left Superior. Prior to that, we would have most likely been in some of those pictures, and I’m sure that my cousins would agree with me when I say that feels a little bit sad too.

Cheryl and Pam had always been good friends, and the younger kids naturally partnered with Bill and Jim. That could have left me feeling like a third wheel, but I got along just as well with the younger kids, so it worked out very well. The reality was that I thought the stuff the younger kids were doing was more fun most of the time anyway. Not to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with Cheryl and Pam, but I was a pretty active kid. and the rough housing that the younger kids and I did was quite appealing to me. In fact, I probably instigated much of it…if not all of it.

I was really into gymnastics, with tumbling being my favorite part of it. My sisters and I used to practice our tumbling on the front lawn, so it stood to reason that we would do that when our cousins were there too. We practiced things like cartwheels, hand springs, and touching our toes to our head…which turned out to be a little difficult for my cousin, Jimmy, try as he might. And believe me, his trying was pretty funny. I don’t know if he really thought that he could pull his legs up to his head with his hands, but believe me, you can’t do it. Either you are limber enough, or you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.

The younger kids would do their best to gang up on me, to prove their superiority…or maybe it was just the mere number of them against me, or maybe they had a little help from Aunt Doris. Whatever the case may be, sometimes I found myself out numbered. Of course, it was all in fun, and we had such a good time when they were here or we were there. Just looking at the picture of the dog pile makes me smile. All I can say, is that I’m glad I didn’t have all those kids on top of me. I would have been squished for sure!! What crazy, fun times those were.

Seeing my cousins this summer, took me back to those carefree days. Sometimes, you get used to being away from those you love, and you somehow don’t realize how much we miss those times, until we go back for a Head to ToeUpside Downshort time. Then, the memories flood back in. You talk for hours about all the old times, and you suddenly realize just how much you have missed those times. Nevertheless, time has marched on, and you can’t go back to when you were young. All you can do is try to keep the memories alive in your memory files, and pull them out once in a while so you can relive those moments. Those days are gone, but the memory lives on to remind you that those were the days, and they were great. Childhood is but a fleeting moment, but those days will always be a part of who we are.

HollyhocksYou’ve seen them…hollyhocks. They are a flower that some might even consider to be a weed, and they sure grow like one. They seem to grow well in yards or alleys…with little water or with plenty of water. The fact that their flowers are abundant the length of their stalk, and that the buds are as abundant as the flowers, is I suppose what attracted us to them. Of course, we were taught never to pick the flowers in someone’s garden, so the fact that these flowers were often in alleys made them more readily available. Whatever it was, my sisters and friends and I used to pick these flowers and then because of their very short stem, found that they didn’t make very good bouquets.

It seemed such a waste to pick these pretty flowers, just to throw them away, so we tried to find something to do with them…finally inventing the Hollyhock Doll. It wasn’t one of the summertime things we did for very many years, nor was it one of the coolest summertime things we did as children, but while I was walking along the trail near my house, and saw some Hollyhocks behind a house along the trail, the memory of our summertime school holidays and the making of Hollyhock dolls came to mind again.

Of course, it wasn’t just a memory of making Hollyhock dolls, but the chance to look back in time a little bit to a time that was so much more simple, that really drew me to the pretty flowers. As we grow up, and responsibilities force their way into our lives, the simple days of childhood get pushed to the background of our memories. Gone are the days of laying around in the backyard, sun tanning, and the afternoons spent at the local swimming pool. Now we get up every morning and go to work, take care of the responsibilities life has handed us, whether they be our children or caring for elderly parents. Our time is no longer our own to do with as we please. That freedom we had as kids is such a fleeting time in our lives, and yet none of us could wait to be grown up. Now we just wish we could go back and be kids again…for a little bit anyway, because no one really wants to relive Hollyhock Dolltheir childhood, but rather just go back for an occasional visit.

Thinking back, the next day as I once again noticed Hollyhocks at the edge of the parking lot at work, I couldn’t resist the urge to pick the necessary parts of the flowers for the purpose of making just one more Hollyhock doll. I picked a flower and a bud, and brought them home. It took seconds to put them together, but the memory of the summertime fun we had, has lingered for days. It never was the Hollyhock Dolls that defined summer for me as a kid, but they were a reminder of the summertime fun we had as kids. I guess that’s why the flowers have always held a place of honor in my memory files.

ZackeryMy grand nephew, Zack has always been a very loving little boy. He is, without doubt, my niece Jenny and her husband Steve’s most huggy boy. That’s just how he is, even telling those he loves, that they forgot to hug him, or that he needed a hug. He is one of those kids that don’t really care if the guys think it’s weird to hug your mom and dad…he just does it anyway.

Just because Zack is a huggy boy, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t up for rough housing with his brothers. And of course, that also 579729_4769894281196_2019074641_nmeans joking around. In fact, getting the better of your brother is the best thing a guy can hope to do…especially if you are the middle brother. It seems like the middle brother always has more to prove than the other brothers. And Zack can hold his own against his brothers. Not that they spend much time really fighting. It’s usually more like a fight for supremacy. And it’s always in good clean fun.

These days, however, Zack has a new job. He is not only the little brother of Xander and the big brother of Isaac, but he is the big brother to Aleesia. Having a 541812_4849143662381_1951834541_nsister is a whole new ball game, but Zack is up for the job. Being the brother that likes to hug, he is a good choice for someone to help out with the baby…not that he would get to be the only one, because Aleesia has three brothers…and don’t you forget it. Nevertheless, Zack has given himself a new job when it comes to his little sister. Zack is the giggle maker. He feels like it is his job to make sure that Aleesia has plenty to laugh about. From making faces to goofy dances, Zack will pull out all the stops just to see the smile on his baby sisters face. Does it get any better than that? Today is Zack’s birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! We love you!!

Elmer Johnson_editedI have always known that my cousin Elmer had a great sense of humor, and like the 2 main cousins he hung out with, Greg and Forrest, he a knack for…well, mischief, and probably getting into a little bit of harmless trouble…mostly with my aunts and grandma.  The more I have written about the family, the more I have found out as these boys were three adventurers, who were always out to see what they could get into, come up with, or get away with.  It is a typical boy thing to, and these were definitely typical boys.

Still, with time, we all grow out of that mischievous age, and move into the normal responsibilities of life, and it is here that we really find out what makes the man. Most men go out and get a job, pay their bills, and become what everyone deems to be a responsible citizen, but some men take on the cares of others in a way that stands out to those who know them. With Elmar, I have found a man who has had such a profound impact on the lives of his niece and her children, that they would bend over backward to do special things for him, like a very special project she has been working on and that I have had the privilege to help with in a small way. Elmer’s love and caring for his niece, JeanAnn, and her children, Mykenzie, and Ethan, has made him so special to them, that they want to come up with special ways to do nice things for him. Even her children are excited about Elmer’s birthday gift. How many of us can say that about our nieces and nephews…or their children for that matter? Ethan, JeanAnn, and MyKenzieThe more I know of my cousin, the more I respect him!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, Elmer still has his amazing sense of humor, and I seriously doubt if he would pass up a chance to tease or pick on JeanAnn and the kids, but they will always know that any teasing he does in in good fun, and unless I miss my guess, they would happily tease him right back. And while they are putting together something really special for Elmer for his birthday, I have no doubt that tomorrow will be a new and very different day. Today, after all is his birthday, not tomorrow. Happy birthday Elmer!! Have a wonderful day. We love you!

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