by guest writer – Brenda Schulenberg

Caryn at 60Caryn became part of our family on March 1, 1975…over 41 years ago, when she married my brother Bob!!! Little did I know at that time that Caryn would become such an important part of the Schulenberg family. I don’t really remember too much of my life without Caryn being a part of it. She has been a major part of our family for so many years now…and I would never want to imagine our family without her as a part of it.

In the early years, Caryn spent most of her time raising her two girls, my nieces, Corrie and Amy. Then, before we knew it along came her four grandchildren my great nieces and nephews, Chris, Shai, Caalab and Josh. All of them are true gifts to Caryn. She really enjoys being a Mother and Grandma…and maybe someday soon (I hope not too soon) a Great Grandma! In August 2014, Caryn’s oldest grandson Chris moved to Sheridan to go to Culinary School. Now, next month Chris will graduate and then continue to live and work in Sheridan. Luckily, Sheridan is not too far away but it is still hard because we all miss him very much. Caryn’s youngest daughter Amy, husband Travis and son Caalab moved to Washington State in June of 2015. This too was very hard for Caryn and the rest of us, but we have made the best of it and enjoy hearing about their fun adventures on Facebook. Bob, Caryn and their daughter, Shai have gone to visit and I’m sure Bob and Caryn will visit again soon. Rumor has it that Shai will be joining her family in Washington in July. Although we are all very sad to see Shai leave Casper, we do know how much she misses her family and how much they miss her.

Caryn has always enjoyed bowling. She and Bob also like to go on walks and hikes when the weather permits. imageBob and Caryn enjoy traveling for their annual hiking/anniversary trip to Thermopolis and to the Black Hills. They also travel for bowling tournaments too.

Through the years, and as both sets of parents aged, Caryn was the primary care giver for all four parents…hers and ours. It was tough on all of us to lose them, but they are in a far better place now. My mom, Joann is still with us and living out at Shepherd of the Valley Care Center. Caryn is still very active in my mom’s care and we do appreciate everything she has and still does for her by going to all of her doctor appointments with her and keeping all of us up to date as to how she is doing.

In October 2013 when I, myself, got sick. Caryn saved my life by convincing me that I had to go to the hospital. Had I not gone I think I would have died very soon after. She (along with all of my other family, friends and co-workers) have been with me all the way in my long journey to a healthier life style…from going to the hospital, rehab at Elkhorn, and then once I went home she did whatever I needed help with. I couldn’t have done it without all of them. Caryn and my sister Jennifer will be traveling with me to Fort Collins, Colorado later this summer for my skin removal surgery…and I already know that Caryn and the rest of the gang will help me through the surgery and recovery too…because that is just how she is.

On, October 18, 2015 my two year anniversary of going to the hospital seven of us hiked the Bridle Trail up on Casper Mountain. We all had a great time until Caryn fell and broke her shoulder. It was just one of those 12011406_10206388717775682_80153129080832348_nthings. It was terrible as Caryn had to have surgery on it and months of physical therapy. This was hard for Caryn because she is so used to being the caregiver not the one needing care. Caryn was a trooper throughout it all, and she knew what she needed to do to recover and she did it. She recovered very well and very quickly. She was a star patient.

Caryn is an amazing woman! She is one of the best sisters-in-law (I consider her my Sister) that I could ever ask for. Today is Caryn’s 60th birthday (I know she still looks so young) and I just want to say Happy Birthday Caryn. We all love you and appreciate you very, very much!!!!

Taking a WalkWhen I think about the time that our grandparents lived in, my thoughts go back to a more slow paced world. Yes, the people worked hard and long hours, but they didn’t rush off to the gym, the movies, constant sporting events, and many of the other things that we do today. I know of a number of people who have something going on every night. There is so little of what I would consider family time that we have gotten to the point where we don’t even realize we are missing it. We have mistakenly counted sporting events, concerts, plays, and other school activities as family time, when in reality, our child is out on the court or on stage, and not with us at all, so it’s not exactly family time.

It used to be that families ate dinner around the table, and talked about their day. I think that makes for being Family gatheringable to know each other better. These days, if people do eat together, they do it in front of the television set…just as often as not. Instead of spending time together, they are just sitting together. I find that I am guilty of this one quite a bit, and while my kids are grown and on their own, spending time actually talking with my husband would be good. We do like to take walks in the evening, so we talk then, and I guess that makes up for some of the time in front of the television set during dinner.

Still, not too many years ago, people did things much differently. Instead of driving a car to town alone, they walked in groups. That allowed for time to enjoy each other’s company. Instead of going to movies with friends, people took walks with their friends. Maybe it was just that their options were more limited, and maybe 150they felt like it was a boring time, but I suspect that they didn’t, because they didn’t know any different.

Of course, there were also the different times people got together to do things like quilting, sewing, and socials, often held on the front porch of the house, so maybe people of times past had just as many events that took them away from family. I guess it’s possible that we just think that things were so much different in times past, but I don’t think so. Even just as far back as my childhood, dinner was eaten aroung the table. I don’t know what ever happened to that, but I think it’s just a little bit sad for sure.

Reagan & AyvaMarlyce & friendThrough the years, people have had a special relationship with their puppy friends. Dogs just have a way of being more than just a pet. So many dogs have protected their owners from harm, and when they are with the children of their owners, they become even more protective. They seem to think of the children as their own babies, or maybe their siblings. It is so strange that an animal can have such strong feelings for their owners, but as we all know, dogs can be very smart. My grand niece, Reagan’s dog, Ayva thinks Reagan is her baby. She expects to be involved in every part of Reagan’s life…nap time, play time, and of course, walks.

Dogs have a natural instinct when it comes to the developmentaly disabled. They seem to be more gentle with them, even when they are a little rough. My sister-in-law, Marlyce was developmentally disabled, but her puppy friend didn’t seem to mind anything she did. That dog was her friend for life, and she was his best pal. I think dogs have a sort of motherly or fatherly feel toward the developmentally disabled, because they know that they need a little extra help sometimes, almost like a child, even if the person is not a child.

An older kid with a dog has a playmate that doesn’t get in fights with them. Dogs just Josh and MollyCaalab and his puppieswant to play and be with you. They don’t care what they get to do, they just want to go along. My grandson, Caalab’s dogs like to go camping, while my grandson, Josh’s dog thinks she should get to go everywhere with Josh, including school, if she could get away with it. The boys and their dogs don’t have to be doing anything special for them to be happy, because doing anything with the boys, makes the dogs  and the boys very happy.  They just want to be their friend.

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