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Written by guest writer: Corrie Petersen

What a difference a year can make. Today is my mom, Caryn Schulenberg’s birthday and I’m the lucky one to write her post this year. Every day and every year things change. We never know what to expect next, but that’s ok because surprises are always fun.

This last year has been full of changes in our family. The true blessing is that my mom has been here to be a part of all the changes. She was able to help welcome two more great grandsons, courtesy of my two sons, Chris and Josh Petersen and their wives, Karen and Athena. She was able to take several vacations with my dad, Bob Schulenberg and most recently she was able to help my great aunt, Sandy Pattan in her time of need.

While I’m sure she didn’t plan to be a caregiver again, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Caregiving is in her heart, and she is very good at it, I might add. She was a caregiver for a very long time with her parents, Allen and Collene Spencer; my dad’s parents, Walt and Joann Schulenberg; and sister, Brenda Schulenberg. I have to wonder if choosing to help my Great Aunt Sandy was a blessing in disguise for both of them…a time of victory, healing, and reconnection.

Mom has been retired for five years now, and she is still so busy. She finds time to walk nine miles every day, write her daily blog posts, read her Bible and go to church, and spend time with her family. She and my dad go to the Black Hills over the Independance Day week to go hiking, and they take a trip to Thermopolis each year around the time of their anniversary. They also try to get to Washington every other year to visit my sister, Amy Royce, her husband Travis, and her kids, Shai and Caalab. Oh…and she bowls once a week with my dad. Boy, that makes me tired just thinking about it, but that’s her life and she wouldn’t want it to be any different.

Today is my mom’s birthday and I hope she has the best day ever. I love you to the moon and back, mom.

Yesterday, my newest little great grandson, Axel Ray Petersen was born. He is a sweet little boy who looks like his daddy, I’m told. I haven’t met him yet, and I can’t wait until I do. Axel was born at 12:02pm on September 18, 2023…exactly 9 days after his dad, Josh Petersen’s birthday; and exactly 9 days before his mom, Athena Petersen’s birthday. He weighs 8 pounds 1 ounce, and he is 19¾ inches long. He has dark hair and more of it than many babies. Axel comes into the world, the second child of his parents, Athena and Josh Petersen. He has a big brother, Justin Petersen, who doesn’t like it much when his brother cries. In fact, it breaks Justin’s heart to hear his precious brother cry, and so he cries too. Justin is not quite a year old yet, so he just doesn’t understand why his brother is sad.

Axel is a sweet baby boy who doesn’t cry much, and he is such a sweet blessing to his family. I can’t believe he is here already. It seems like just yesterday that we found out that Axel was coming, and now suddenly he is here. Nine months goes by so fast. Before we know it, we will be celebrating his first birthday and beyond. Time goes by so fast, and kids grow up so quickly. I am excited to find out who Axel will become as he grows, and excited to see the relationship he will have with his brother and any possible future siblings. Justin is a happy boy, and I’m sure that happiness will spread to his younger brother. There is no way to know the interests these brothers will have, but I know that they will have a wonderful life, and they will be best friends forever.

For little Axel, life is just beginning. The journey ahead has yet to be determined. The same applies to his “Irish Twin” brother, Justin. Irish Twins are siblings who were born less than a year apart. Axel and Justin’s grandmother, Corrie Petersen is also an Irish Twin. It’s a really cool thing to be. The older one doesn’t remember life without the younger one, and the younger one never lived life without the older one. Either way, they feel like they have always had each other, and they pretty much have. It is my hope that Justin and Axel will embrace that part of themselves and make it a special part of their lives. Happy day of your birth Axel Ray Petersen, and welcome to the world and our family. We love you so much already.

While life hasn’t always been easy for my aunt, Jeanette Byer, who is the widow of my uncle, Larry Byer (my mother’s brother). She worked hard all her life, helping to take care of their large piece of land and house in the country between Casper and Glenrock, Wyoming. They had a number of outbuildings and lots of trees. The land belongs to her children, Larry Byer and Tina Grosvenor now, because with Uncle Larry in Heaven, Aunt Jeanette has moved into an apartment in Casper. It’s just easier for her now, because her eyesight is failing, with Macular Degeneration, so to be on sch a big place with so much care needed would be too hard for her…and she is older now, so she couldn’t do the upkeep anyway. That is a job for younger people.

Nevertheless, while things in her life changing, Aunt Jeanette is still a person of smiles and sweetness. You have to tell her who you are when you see her, not because she doesn’t remember people, but because she can’t see them…even right in front of her. Nevertheless, the last time I saw her, I had a nice little visit with her…even though it was at the funeral of her son-in-law, Glen Grosvenor. We didn’t talk long, but it was good to know that she was still doing well, and still smiling. She has such a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity.

Aunt Jeanette liked doing crafts, and at one time she had a little ceramic shop on their place, so that the family could all gather around the ceramic design work and enjoy not only the artistic time together, but also just the time together itself. Many cute decorations were made in that little shop, and many great conversations too. She doesn’t do ceramics anymore, of course, but Aunt Jeanette always enjoys a little visit and time with family. She now has grandchildren, and quite great grandchildren to entertain these days, although she may not get to see them as often as she would like. At least some of them live in Florida. Nevertheless, there are many way to keep in tough these days, including phone, facetime, skype, and a number of others. I don’t know how well Aunt Jeanette can handle these things, but I’m sure there are those who can help. Today is Aunt Jeanette’s 87th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Jeanette!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I was born in Superior, Wisconsin and at that time, I had one grandfather, George Byer, who was my mother, Collene Spencer’s dad. My grandfather and grandmother, Hattie Byer lived in Casper, Wyoming, where my mom was born, and where our family would eventually move back too. Sometimes, I wonder if my grandparents were happy about having us moving back. It wasn’t that they weren’t happy to have us closer, but now they didn’t have an excuse to visit the beautiful Wisconsin area.

Grandma and Grandpa made a few trips up to see us, as did my Aunt Sandy Pattan and possibly some of my other aunts and uncles, and they always had a wonderful time. I don’t think you could gage kept my grandpa away, because when it came to kids, he was a big softie. About the time he knew he had a new grandbaby, he was ready to go.

Grandpa was the same way with his own kids. He loved coming home from work to have all of his children around him. The girls would often comb his hair, and even paint his fingernails. If his buddies at work ever laughed about that, he didn’t say, and I doubt he cared. I’m sure he just likes having the attention his kids loved to give him, especially after a long hard day at work. The evenings were often spent listening to the radio or reading a book out loud so the whole family could hear. They also sang, and after Aunt Dee bought the old piano, maybe they played that, although I don’t think anyone really knew how. Nevertheless, evenings were for family time, and Grandpa loved it. Today marks the 130th anniversary of my grandpa’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa Byer. We love and miss you very much.

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