Thanksgiving…a day of reflection on the events of the year that has passed and the blessings we have been given. Many people think of Thanksgiving as just a day to eat a big meal, and watch the parade or a football game, but that isn’t its real purpose at all. None of us goes through life without trials and troubles, but by the grace of God, we have come through another year, and that is something to be thankful for, even if your year had very few trials.
We have been very blessed this past year. Our daughter, Corrie Petersen graduated from nursing school, and we got to go to Las Vegas for her graduation ceremony and spend a week there celebrating. We had a wedding for Athena and Josh, and anniversary for Karen and Chris, and two new great grandsons, Axel and Cyler arrive…to join the great granddaughter, Cambree (who started Kindergarten this year) and two great grandsons, Caysen and Justin, that we already had. My daughter, Amy and her daughter, Shai came out from Washington for the wedding. I also got to go out and spend two wonderful weeks with Amy and her family, Travis, Shai, and Caalab in Washington state. Amy and Shai changed jobs, moving from Rice Insurance to Brown and Brown Insurance. Amy and Travis also got to finally take their anniversary cruise to Alaska. They had a great time, and even got to see the Aurora Borealis. It was a good move for them. Bob and I spent a relaxing week in the Black Hills, as well as our anniversary trip to Thermopolis, which are two of our favorite places.
As with any year, there were a few tougher times, but they were few and far between. All in all, our year was awesome, and we can honestly say that God has greatly blessed our family. As we celebrate the blessings of God, I want to give thanks to Him who is the Father of all blessings. We would not be where we are without our gracious God. We have been healed of all our infirmities and strengthened for all we have undertaken. Our God is truly an awesome God!! I pray that everyone had a year filled with God’s greatest blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends! God bless your next year! I love you all!
My little great grandson, Justin Petersen, who is the son of my grandson, Josh Petersen and his wife Athena Petersen, has had an eventful first year of life. When he was about a month old, Justin got the flu, which can be very scary for a baby. He spent some time in the hospital, and the doctors thought it might be tough and go, but with much prayer, he came out of it, and proceeded to flourish, and have great health. Nevertheless, that was a time none of us ever want to go through again.
These days, Justin has a new job. He is a big brother. His baby brother, Axel was born 26 days before Justin turned 1 year old. That makes these brothers Irish Twins. Of course, they don’t know what that means yet, but they will eventually. Axel just knows that he’s tired, hungry, or wet. Justin just knows that there is a new baby at his house, and he really loves him. He doesn’t know it yet, but that new baby is going to one of his best friends. Justin has a new built-in playmate. They will most likely fight over things like toys, space, and the last candy bar, among other things. Nevertheless, they will also learn that when it comes right down to it, brothers stick together. It will be a matter of knowing that “you might pick on your brother, but nobody else better do so.” That is sort of the sibling code. Siblings have to stick together!!
Justin was just beginning to take his early steps when his brother arrived, and now he is getting to be an old hand at it. I’m sure he realized that his mommy and daddy were going to have to be carrying his little brother around a lot, so he might have to walk on his own two feet. Not really, of course, because one-year-old-boys don’t think that way. Nevertheless, Justin knows that things have changed in his world, and he couldn’t be happier about it. Justin has always been a happy little boy, but he also has a “thinking” side to him too. I see it in him. He is a concentrator. I know it, because I am a concentrator. We think things through, and sometimes people even think we are angry, because we tend to frown when we concentrate. Still, Justin has a goofy side too. He loves his toys and exploring new places. And Justin loves his Papa, my son-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Grandma, my daughter, Corrie Petersen. Still, his daddy is Justin’s fav!! Whenever he is at my house, and he finds out that his daddy is coming to pick him up, he stands at the door watching for him, and when he arrives…look out, because his daddy “hung the moon” and that’s a fact. Today is Justin’s first birthday. Happy birthday Justin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Recently, I took a trip to Ferndale, Washington to visit my daughter, Amy Royce, her husband, Travis, and kids Shai and Caalab. While I was there, Amy, Shai, and I took a side trip to Lopez Island. Amy had been looking for things to do while I was there, when she came across Spencer Spit. A spit is a narrow coastal land formation that is tied to the coast at one end. Spits frequently form where the coast abruptly changes direction and often occur across the tidal mouth of a large river, where the tide meets the stream.
Spencer Spit was of particular interest to me, because it was owned by a Spencer family, up until 1967 anyway. It was then that Raymond Spencer who decided to sell the land to the state of Washington to be a park. The area had been owned off and on by the Troxell and Spencer families since the 1880s, but the details are a bit sketchy. The two families apparently traded the land back an forth for a while. In 1886, the Spencer family took possession of the land, and it was there that their son Raymond was born a year later. In 1888, Franklin Troxell came to the land and received a land grant under the Homestead Act. He built the house that stood until 1979. He also built a stone and timber shed in the early 1950s. Those structures still stand today. There was also a guest house built out on the spit where friends and family stayed. It was later torn down. A picnic shelter stands in its place now.
From 1918 to about 1922, Ramond Spencer captained a kelp harvester ship in the waters around Lopez Island, called Harvester King. They harvested kelp for the Kelp Plant. Then in 1922, the ship was reconfigured to ferry cars. It was the first ferry to serve the San Juan Islands, but after one season, it was decided that the ship was not really suited to the job of ferry boat. The ride was just too rough, so it was beached in Olympia until she was ultimately scrapped. Apparently while kelp is used to make fertilizer today, it was not as successful back then. I guess that Harvester King was simply ahead of her time. Maybe if she had been built a few decades later, she would still be operating today.
My grandson, Josh Petersen is not the little boy that lives in my memory files, but these days, he is actually a married dad of two boys, Justin and Axel (coming soon). He and his wife, Athena Petersen are so happy with life, and they are so blessed. Little did they know when they met back in middle school, that their meeting was not just by chance. They were destined to be together, and now they are, all these years later. They are both so happy with the life they have built together. Their home is filled with love and laughter…and the pitter-patter of little feet.
Josh works as a fire extinguisher tech, for All Out Fire, and is probably their most essential workers. He has been with them a long time, and both his boss and the customers depend on his loyalty and capabilities. He is a conscientious worker, who can always be counted on to be there when he is supposed to. His ideas have even brought the company into the modern era, so they can be competitive in this current work climate. Much has changed over the last few years, both in our lives and in the working world. A company has to be ready to compete, and Josh has helped All Out Fire stay competitive.
Josh has always been a soft-spoken man, with a big heart. He helped with caregiving of his great grandparents, and that qualified him for taking care of others, including his son. He is completely comfortable caring for Justin when Athena is working, or any other activity she might be engaged in. Justin loves his “Da Da” so much, and of course that was his first word…sorry Athena. I know you were hoping for “Ma Ma” but Justin decided. You know how babies are. Making up their own minds and all. Justin can be crying, but when his “Da Da” shows up, he is as happy as a clam. He starts jumping up and down and can’t wait for Josh to pick him up. I love the relationship he has with his boy.
The next chapter in Josh’s life is coming up soon. Little Axel is due on September 24th, but as we all know, that is subject to change, because babies have their own schedules. Josh and Athena are already seasoned parents, but having two babies, is going to be a new step. Their babies with be “Irish Twins” because they will be born within a year of each other. Josh’s papa and I did the same thing with our daughters, Corrie Petersen (Josh’s mom) and Amy Royce (Josh’s aunt). It was a fun experience, and I know that Josh and Athena will have a lot of fun with it too. I am very excited to see what this next chapter of his life will bring. Today is Josh’s 25th birthday. Time has sure gone by fast. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my oldest daughter, Corrie Petersen was born, it was one of the happiest days of her great grandmother, Nettie Knox’s life, because her first great grandchild had been born on her birthday. It’s called “birthday twins” and it’s been the coolest thing for both Grandma Knox and Corrie. When Corrie was little, and indeed until grandma passed away when she was just a month past 82, and Corrie was just a month past 15, they celebrated their birthdays together. It was so important to both of them. Their bond was a very special one and lasted for the rest of Grandma’s life…and beyond. I know that with Grandma in Heaven now, Corrie feels sad sometimes, and her birthday is just a little bittersweet, but I hope Corrie knows just how proud Grandma always was of her.
These past few years…the craziest ones Corrie has ever spent, have brought her to a new career, and I have been thinking about just how proud Grandma would have been of her birthday twin. She was always proud of Corrie, and it didn’t matter what kind of work she did, but the hard work to get where she is now…that’s what Grandma would have been proud of. Grandma was a hard-working woman in her younger years, but most of it was housework and raising her children. These days many women work outside the home. It is more unusual for someone to be a stay-at-home mom. The opportunities for Grandma were different than those available to Corrie. Then again, the things she did, that Corrie will never do, are many as well.
Grandma was born on June 30, 1908. Life was quite different then. The automobile was invented, but still very new, and it was not unusual to see horses and buggies on the same streets as the cars. These days, people are fighting for a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour, but back then, the average factory worker made around $12.00 a week!! Of course, the prices of things were much less then too, but it does show a markedly different world when Grandma was born, than the one we live in now. When you think about it, if we cut the price of everything and then cut the wages, we would be in the same place we are right now. Grandma Knox saw a lot of changes during her time here on Earth, and I’m sure some things seemed as strange as the first laptop did to us. Progress is a big deal in any era. Still, for Grandma, little could top that fact that her first great grandchild had arrives on her birthday. She considered it the best gift ever. Today marks the 115th anniversary of Grandma Knox’s birth!! Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandma. We love and miss you very much.
My grandson, Caalab Royce, who lives in Bellingham, Washington, is such a great guy. When Caalab was in middle school, he decided that he wanted to learn to play the guitar. His dad, Travis Royce played the guitar, and Travis was, and still is, Caalab’s hero. So, when the class was offered, he jumped at the chance to actually learn to play, and not just to try to imitate what his dad was doing. Let’s face it, learning to play is much better than stumbling around with it. Which is exactly what any strumming I could do would be called. Caalab has a natural talent though, and I love to listen to him and his dad play. I think they are both very good. They have a little band that practices in his parents’ garage/T&Avern, which is a very cool place named after its owners, Travis and Amy Royce. Of course, when the weather is nice, they practice in the Royce back yard and garden. Either way, I love to listen whenever I am visiting.
Caalab has many talents, among them comedy. He always could tell a joke, never forgetting the punch line, even when he was a little boy, but even more cool is his ability to just be funny. In fact, Caalab hates to be serious. Nevertheless, he has the ability to be serious when it comes to his job as kitchen manager at Red Robin in Bellingham. Let’s face it, kitchen manager at any restaurant is not easy. People in that type of job often don’t want to work. Oh, they want to get paid, but they don’t always want to work for that paycheck. Caalab, as the kitchen manager, has to pick up the slack when one of his kitchen workers doesn’t show up for a shift or when they quit with no notice. It seems to be a common problem in the food industry, no matter what minimum wage is. I think it’s common in many industries. People want a paycheck…but they don’t want a job!!!
Caalab has always been a blessing, even if his sister, Shai Royce couldn’t always see the funny side of things, especially when the joke was on her. Nevertheless, these days these two are best friends. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they can argue, but they are still best friends. I always knew they would be, and I told Shai that, but as a young girl, who was always teased by her little brother, she just couldn’t see it. Caalab did love to tease her, but he would have done anything for her too. She was his big sis, and nobody better bother his big sis. For her part, Shai would also do just about anything for her brother too, and she trusts him implicitly, which is quite evident in the fact that for his birthday, she actually bought him a real sword. It is a collector’s sword, but a sword nevertheless, and Caalab thought it was the coolest thing ever. Today is Caalab’s 26th birthday. Happy birthday Caalab!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandson, Josh Petersen and his fiancée, Athena Salazar met in middle school, and at the time, Athena tells me that she didn’t really like Josh much. That’s not such an odd thing. in those early teen years, everybody feels awkward, and doesn’t really know how to show someone that you like them, and especially for girls, the awkward maneuvering of the teenaged boys makes them someone the girls would rather just avoid. I don’t really know if Josh liked Athena back then, but when they met again, both working at Sanford’s, they knew that things had changed for them. Now before them was a person who was suddenly quite loveable, and they knew that they had found their soulmate for life. Josh and Athena had followed the path of his Grandma and Grandpa Schulenberg, who had known each other all their lives, and for those awkward teen years, she didn’t like him, but then it all changed, and they were together for life. It’s really a sweet story, when you think about it. Today, the story of Josh and Athena is going to the next level. Today, they will marry the love of their lives. They have been waiting for so long, and they are so excited.
We are so happy to have Athena join our family. It is wonderful to see Josh so happy. They couldn’t be more perfect for each other if they tried. They find the same things to be funny, and they love the same things, especially their son, Justin, who was born in 2022 and their little baby boy who will be making his entrance at the end of September. Life is good for these sweet kids, and now it is going to be even sweeter as they become husband and wife. They have so many good things ahead of them and this is just the beginning, the point when two lives who have known each other for so long, and now become one.
Josh and Athena have so much in common, from school days to work, to their likes and dislikes, and their temperaments. They are the kind of people who are always willing to help others, and that endears them to many people. They like to travel and see new places, but they enjoy hanging out at home just as much. Their son, Justin and soon his little brother, Axel are their top priorities, and they love them both so much. They are already such great parents, and so great as a couple, and I know they will be equally as great as husband and wife. Today is the day…their Wedding Day!! Congratulations Athena and Josh!! Congratulations on your marriage!! We are so happy for you both!! We love you!!
Yesterday, one of my granddaughter, Shai Royce’s co-workers, mentioned that her birthday was missing this year. I guess you could say that, but I told her that is just another Nano Birthday. Of course, that is when your birthday falls on that nano second between 11:59pm and 12:00am. That can only happen is you are a Leap Day Baby, which is exactly what Shai is. She didn’t know how she felt about that for a long time, mostly because her younger brother, Caalab told her that he was older that she is, which is technically true, because she only gets a “real” birthday every four years. She didn’t want him to be older than she was, because obviously, she was born first. She finally began to feel better about her birthday when I told her that the boys were older that she was, but they had to wait until they were 16 to get their driver’s license, but she could get hers when she was 4, and even then, she got to get it on the 28th rather than waiting until the 1st of March. So, it was earlier all the way around. These days, like many Leap Day Babies, Shai has a two-day birthday, and sometimes she has a birthday week.
Shai is an insurance agent for Rice Insurance in Bellingham, Washington, and she is seriously the youngest insurance agent they have. While she is “technically” 27 years old today, in reality, she is 6¾ years old. I would say that is the youngest agent in Rice Insurance history…unless they have another Leap Day Baby in their midst. Either way, they take pretty good care of Shai, birthday or nano birthday. The have given her candles, which she loves, and one co-worker bought her pizza and a brownie for lunch today. Her parents threw her a party over the weekend, so it looks like she’s been pretty spoiled. I just wish we could have been there for it. Maybe next year.
Shai is a very social person and is well liked by everyone she knows. She makes friends easily, and often keeps them for life. She has followed in the footsteps of her grandma and her mom, who are both insurance agents. In fact, I had the great privilege of training both of them to be insurance agents, and if I do say so myself, they are among the best in the business. I am so very proud of both of them. They even get to work together at Rice Insurance, although they often work from home these days, which is very cool too. Today is Shai’s 6¾s @ 27th birthday. Next year you can have a real birthday, Girlie. Happy birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
With each passing year, I find myself feeling more and more blessed with this husband of mine. Bob and I met while I was working at Kmart, where his sister, Debbie Cook also worked, 49 years and 4 months ago. We have been married for 48 years as of today. There were people who didn’t think we has a chance for a lifelong marriage, but they were all wrong. I guess you could say that we are both stubborn…in a good way. We made a commitment, and we were determined to stay committed. The rest, as they say, is history. We have been blessed with two daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; two sons-in-law, Kevin Petersen and Travis Royce; four grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen; a granddaughter-in-law, Karen Petersen and soon to be granddaughter-in-law, Athena Salazar; and three great grandchildren, Cambree, Caysen, and Justin Petersen. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Through the years, our lives have taken a number of turns. Things we expected and things we didn’t. We have made major job changes, to jobs we didn’t expect, Bob working for the City of Casper and me at The Stengel Agency, from which we would both retire. Of course, our family has grown and continues to grow. We began our married life living in a mobile home, which we moved several times, and finally in 1995, we moved into town…the best move we ever made. I guess it took us that long to realize that we really didn’t like country life. We became caregivers in 2005, an eventually would take care of all four parents until each one passed away, the final one in 2018. That was probably the biggest, unexpected thing of all. When you are young, you naturally think your parents will live forever. We miss them very much and consider ourselves blessed to have had them with us for so long.
The future is bright, and with retirement, we have more time to be together. I suppose some people think that all that time together would get…complicated, but for us it has not. We have always enjoyed our time together and have found that working different shifts at times was one of the hardest things we endured. I’ve heard people say that we should have fought less in those years, but we actually fought more, so there is another myth shot down. These days we like to travel, hike, spend time with our family. Of course, Bob still keeps busy working on cars in our garage, and I have my writing. We find too, that we are homebodies to a degree, with Bob needing to be out and about more than I do. So, he runs to the parts house several times a day, hahahaha!! It’s his social life. I like to walk on the trail near our home, and the Carpet Trail (inside our house) in the winter. I always look forward to the warmer weather, because the Carpet Trail can get boring after a while. I would say that we have led a very blessed life!! Happy 48th anniversary, Bob!! I love you more each and every day!! Here’s to many more years of wedded bliss!!
My grandson, Chris Petersen was the first one to make me a grandma. It was a wonderful day. Amazing, he managed to accomplish two great things that day making my goal of being a grandma by the time I was 40 and being born on his great grandmother, Joann Schulenberg’s birthday. I was privileged to be in the room when he arrived, and it was a wonderful blessing to me…one I will never forget. Chris was a wonderful and silly boy. He made the greatest faces and totally loved making all the animal sounds, and he knew them by heart.
These days, Chris is all grown up, married to a wonderful girl named Karen, and has two wonderful babies of his own named Cambree and Caysen. He is the assistant manager at Auto Zone in Casper, a job that is right up his alley. Chris is a car fanatic, and truly loves everything about his job. For a time, he was in food service, and while it was a job, it was not his heart. Since moving to Auto Zone, I have seen that happy boy come back. Chris is funny and loves to joke around. He is witty, and quick with a great punch line. He loves playing with his kids and making them laugh. When he is with them, he is a kid at heart. I love when he sends me funny texts or call to see if he can fool me, which he and Karen seem to be very good at. Hahaha!! It makes my day, when my kids and grandkids still want to talk or text me every day. It warms my heart to see Chris so happy with his life. He is very blessed.
Chris has a Camaro, and he has decided that he is going to wrap it with Rhino, which I think looks very cool. He hasn’t said if he will go black or choose a color, but I’ve seen some of these done, and it is cool. His car has won him awards, and he is very proud of it. His kids love to be in the car too, so I guess they know a hot rod when they see one. They are their daddy’s kids after all. Of course, the Camaro is a summer car. Chris and Karen have 4-wheel drives for the winter weather, and this year it has been a good thing. We have had a banner snow year in Casper, and 4-wheel drive is essential. Nevertheless, Summer is coming, and it will be nice to take out the old hot rod sometimes. Today is Chris’ 27th birthday…how can that be already?? Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!