My niece, Dustie Masterson is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s only daughter-in-law, but she really seems more like Cheryl’s daughter to all of us. She fits in the family so well, that it’s like she has always been a part of it. She and her sisters-in-law, Chantel Balcerzak, Toni Chase, Liz Masterson, and Jenny Spethman, seem to have a great comradery, and whenever I see them, they are always laughing and joking around. For our family, Dustie was my nephew, Rob Masterson’s match made in Heaven, and of course, he feels that way too. Theirs is a close, loving relationship, with a heaping portion of joking, teasing, and much laughter.
Dustie is such a sweet, loving person, and so patient too. She works with her children, Raelynn, Matt, and Anna to make sure they do well in their studies. With the encouragement of their parents, they are all good students, who like school. Dustie is also very good with her nieces and nephews. She and my grand niece, Aleesia Spethman have a very special relationship. They are good friends, but Aleesia knows that Dustie is likely to tease her too. They have spent quite a bit of time around each other, so even at 5 years old, Aleesia pretty much has Dustie figured out.
Dustie recently changed jobs, and now instead of working at Albertsons in the fresh cut produce department, she is at Sam’s Club, and she couldn’t be happier. Her work includes cashier and she has her own department to take care of too. Plus, she has the added benefit of having her husband, Rob working at the same store, but in a different department. Nevertheless, they can drive to work together…occasionally. With the hours at Sam’s Club, they don’t always work the same shifts.
I think that one of the best aspects of Dustie is her curiosity…the drive to know more. Dustie loves documentaries, a love we share. She thrives on history, and I do too. I suppose it is the “mouse in the corner” aspect of it, in that we would both love to be that inconspicuous observer sitting in the corner watching as the events unfold. To be able to watch great historic events as they happened…in real time, would be of great interest to both of us. Dustie also likes to watch documentaries about how things work. The intricate functions of amazing inventions, as well as things like the weather and how it affects things around it. It truly is quite simply curiosity, and it is an aspect of Dustie’s personality that she has honed to perfection. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Dustie Masterson is the daughter-in-law of my sister, Cheryl Masterson. Dustie’s loyalty to her mother-in-law is quite unusual. I don’t say that there aren’t daughters-in-law who are loyal and loving toward their mothers-in-law, because there are, and I am one of them, but many don’t feel any real obligation to their in-laws. Dustie is different, however. With Dustie, I see a genuine loyalty, friendship, and even love for her mother-in-law. She has truly become a part of their family, a fact that we are all happy about.
Dustie works at Albertson’s here is Casper, in the produce department. She is a Fresh Cut Specialist and Supervisor. She is also over all the salads that are created in the store. She sees all the latest in different sauces and salsas, and often buys them for Cheryl to try. I’ve had the opportunity to try some of them too, and I find that Dustie’s likes and dislikes in the food arena are very similar to my own. It is a yummy connection when I get together with Cheryl and her family on Thursday nights. For Cheryl, it is a welcome help in the kitchen, and the fact that Dustie is a good cook doesn’t hurt either.
Dustie’s life is usually very busy. With a husband and three children at home, and a full time job, she spends a lot of her time running whether it be at home, work, or errands. Evenings are spent helping the kids, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna with their homework, and getting them lined out for school the next day. As most parents know, having kids in school is like being in school yourself, because you have to learn right along with them in order to help them with their homework, and yet, you have to be a teacher too, n that you can’t do the work, but rather you must make them do it with the proper amount of prompting. And of course, you have to be the educational encourager, to keep them motivated.
It’s a busy life that Dustie leads, but one that makes her very happy. Dustie has been a part of our family for over 12 years now, and I, for one, don’t know what we would do without her. She was a blessing during the years we were taking care of our parents, and she always will be. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my Uncle Larry Byer, married the love of his life, Jeanette Morton, she became the first daughter-in-law my grandparents had. They had nine children and of those, just two sons, Larry and Wayne. Larry was the oldest boy, Wayne the youngest boy, with three girls before Larry, and three girls after Wayne, and my mom, Collene Byer Spencer in the middle.
My grandparents were used to girls, with all of their mixed emotions, but prior to Aunt Jeanette, the additions had always been men…husbands for the daughters. I’m not sure, but I have to think that it must have been a little bit of a culture shock to add another girl to this mix. When your family has an over abundance of girls, adding boys seems to calm the whole world down some, because suddenly the emotions of those girls settle down too. I suppose they probably thought that adding a daughter-in-law could possible bring a new surge of emotions, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. Aunt Jeanette has always seemed like a very calm, mellow person to me…with a wonderful laugh that brings a smile to everyone’s face. Of course, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have an Aunt Jeanette, because she married my Uncle Larry back on February 11, 1956, and I wasn’t born until the following April.
Aunt Jeanette has always been such a kind and thoughtful person. I’m sure that is what attracted her to Uncle Larry too. Aunt Jeanette had been a friend of the family for a while before she and Uncle Larry started dating, and so in many ways, she just fit right in with the rest of the family. Nevertheless, Aunt Jeanette brought a sweetness to the family all her own. She is one of the few people these days who always sends out Christmas cards, because she wants those she loves to know that she is thinking about them. That is just the kind of person she is and always has been.
Aunt Jeanette has long been the only sister-in-law in the family, but in reality, she is more like a sister than a sister-in-law to the rest of the siblings. She has endeared herself to them in many ways. Her kindness and generosity are well known to anyone who ever had a need. She is quick to offer words of comfort, and just to let you know that no matter what you need, she will be there for you. Today is Aunt Jeanette’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Jeanette!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
What a Special Person my Sister-in-law Caryn is!
Caryn became part of our family on March 1, 1975…40 years ago this year!!! 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 with her not 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, Caryn’s oldest Grandson Chris moved to Sheridan to go to Culinary School and boy that was a tough adjustment for all of his family. Luckily Sheridan is not too far away but it is still hard. Caryn’s youngest daughter Amy, husband Travis and son Caalab will be moving to Washington State very soon and this too is going to be very hard for Caryn and the rest of us. We know that it will be a great adventure for them….but it is so hard when someone we love moves so far away….but maybe someday they will be back to stay!
A few years back when Caryn’s dad, Al Spencer suddenly became very sick she became an instant caregiver to him. She had help from her mom, Collene and her sisters Cheryl, Caryl, Alena, and Allyn along with all of their children and grandchildren. It took all of them. They all then became caregivers for Caryn’s mom, Collene Spencer when she was ill during the years. On February 22, 2015 Caryn’s mom went to Heaven. While I know Caryn and her sisters are missing her, they know that Collene is truly in a better place now.
Caryn was the lead caregiver to my parents, Walt and Joann Schulenberg. She had help from myself and my siblings, Bob, Jennifer, Debbie, and Ron along with my nieces and nephews, Corrie, Amy, Machelle, Susan, Barry, JD, Eric, Riley, and Tucker, all of the great nieces and nephews and my Aunt Margee Kountz and her granddaughter Staci. Everyone helped when they could, in any way they could even if it was just to stop by or call for a visit…but we could not have kept either one of my parents at home as long as we did without Caryn. She was their primary caregiver and didn’t bat an eye about doing it. She is still helping with my Mom by checking on her out at Shepherd of the Valley Care Center, 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 got sick…who did I call first? Of course, I called Caryn. She convinced me that I need to get checked out to see what was wrong. Little did I know then that Caryn saved my life. I truly believe that if she had not talked me into going to the hospital that I would have died very soon. She has been with me all the way…from going to the hospital, to my rehab at Elkhorn Rehabilitation Hospital and then once I was home she would do whatever I needed help with. She slept in a recliner chair the night that I had my sleep study done because I couldn’t get my legs up into the bed on my own. She stayed with me my first two nights home from Elkhorn because she didn’t think I should stay alone…I was grateful to have her there with me because I had nurses, aids and therapists with me 24/7 for almost a month. Caryn and my sister Jennifer…and my entire family, friends and coworkers have all been very supportive during my 18 month recovery and weight loss journey. I couldn’t have done it without all of them. Caryn will be traveling with me to Fort Collins next week to see a doctor about my skin removal surgery…and when I have it done in Fort Collins or even here in Casper she will be there with me through all of it and I know she will be very helpful to me during my recovery too.
I don’t even want to think of what the past several years would have been like for either Caryn’s family or my family if it hadn’t been for Caryn and her dedication of her time and her heart to care for all four aging parents and myself. We couldn’t have and wouldn’t have wanted to go through any of this without Caryn.
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 and I know that my Parents felt the same way…she was and is one great Daughter-in-law.
Today is Caryn’s birthday and I just want to say Happy Birthday Caryn. We all love you and appreciate you very, very much!!!!
My niece, Dustie Masterson reminds me a little bit of Ruth in the Bible. Her family is from Ohio, and for a time, she and my nephew, Rob moved back there, but after a short time, they returned to Wyoming. I know that she loves her family in Ohio, but like Ruth, she has chosen to live where his family lives. She has chosen to embrace her Masterson/Spencer side of the family, and we are all pleased. Over the past few years, she has been such a help to her mother-in-law, my sister, Cheryl Masterson, and her grandma, my mom, Collene Spencer. She would often go to the store for them, as well as running other errands.
It isn’t all about what Dustie has done for Cheryl either, but also about how she feels about Cheryl. She considers Cheryl to be a second mom. It isn’t that she doesn’t love her own mom, but she also shares a closeness with her mother-in-law. And it is really more than a closeness. You don’t help someone through some of the worst moments of their life and no feel very close to them. You don’t share the hardest situations, and not develop a closeness from it. I have seen that in several family members over the years.
There are many things about Dustie that are obviously very different from the person Ruth was, but when I was deciding what to write about her for her birthday, a picture of Ruth and Naomi came to mind. I thought, “That is a lot like Dustie and Cheryl.” Dustie is Cheryl’s only daughter-in-law, and often that person feels a little alienated, but that has not been the case between these two. Dustie comes to Cheryl for advise, and even when she just needs a hug. They are as close as a mother and daughter could be. I think that Cheryl considers Dustie to be her daughter, not daughter-in-law.
Dustie has been such a soulmate for my nephew, Rob. They have been in love since they first met. She has been a great step-mom to Rob’s daughter, Christina, and the two of them have three wonderful children together. Theirs is a life full of blessings, and they are counting those blessings every day. Theirs is a busy life, with activities that the kids are into, but that is a blessing too, because as we all know, children grow up far to quickly, and then they are out on their own.
Dustie has worked at Albertson’s now for a number of years. She seems to love her job, and they like her. She is a fresh cut specialist and supervisor, and really enjoys what she is doing. Of course, her first priority is her family. She is so proud of all the things her children have accomplished, and they, in turn, are very proud of her. Dustie is a sweetheart, and a lot of fun to be around. Her smile lights up a room. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Written by: Brenda Schulenberg
Caryn became part of our family on March 1, 1975…..almost 40 years ago!!!! I don’t really remember life without Caryn! She has been a major part of our family for so many years now…and I would never want to imagine our family with her not a part of it.
In the early years, Caryn spent most of her time raising her two girls, my nieces, Corrie and Amy. Then, along came her four grandchildren my Great nieces and nephews, Chris, Shai, Caalab and Josh. All of them were true gifts to Caryn. She really enjoys being a Mother and Grandma.
A few years back when Caryn’s Dad, Al Spencer suddenly became very sick she became an instant caregiver to him. She had help from her Mom, Colleen and her sisters Cheryl, Caryl, Alena, and Allyn along with all of their children and grandchildren…it took all of them. They all then became caregivers for Caryn’s Mom, Colleen when she became ill and they are still caring for her and doing a great job of it.
Then as if Caryn didn’t have enough on her plate she became a caregiver to my parents, Walt and Joann Schulenberg. She had help from myself and my siblings, Bob, Jennifer, Debbie, and Ron along with my nieces and nephews, Corrie, Amy, Machelle, Susan, Barry, JD, Eric, Riley, and Tucker, all of my great nieces and nephews and my Aunt Margee Kountz and her Granddaughter Staci. Everyone helped when they could, in any way they could even if it was just to stop by or call for a visit…..but we could not have kept either one of my parents at home as long as we did without Caryn. She was their primary caregiver and didn’t bat an eye about doing it. She is still helping with my Mom by checking on her almost daily out at Shepherd of the Valley Care Center & going to all of her doctor appointments with her and keeping all of us up to date as to how she is doing.
Last October when I got sick….who did I call 1st? No, not ghost busters….I called Caryn? She convinced me that I needed to get checked out to see what was wrong. She was with me all the way…from going to the hospital, to my rehab at Elkhorn…and then once I was home she would do whatever I needed help with. She even stayed the first two nights at my house because she didn’t want me to be by myself. Caryn and my sister Jennifer….and my entire family, friends and coworkers have all been very supportive during my long recovery & weight loss. I couldn’t have done it without all of them.
I don’t even want to think of what the past several years would have been like for either Caryn’s family or my family if it hadn’t been for Caryn and her dedication of her time and her heart to care for all four aging parents and myself.
We couldn’t have and wouldn’t have wanted to go through any of this without Caryn.
She is one of the best Sisters-in-law (I consider her my Sister) that I could ever ask for and I know that my Parents felt the same way….she was and is one great Daughter-in-law.
Today is Caryn’s birthday and I just want to say Happy Birthday Caryn. We love you and appreciate you very, very much!
Into each life, comes change. It is the one constant. My sister, Allyn’s life is no different. Allyn is my youngest sister, and within the last 6 years, the road of her life has taken many twists and turns, as does every life. One of the biggest changes, however is the empty nest. Allyn’s transformation to empty nester began with the marriage of her son Ryan to his wife, Chelsea. Then, just nine short months later, Allyn and her husband Chris, became grandparents when their first grandchild, Ethan Christopher was born. Before long, Ethan was followed by his little sister, Aurora Briann. Allyn was now a grandmother of two, and she is loving every minute of being a grandmother…something any grandparent can totally relate to.
During this time, Jessi had moved out, and Lindsay was away at college, so all they had was their youngest daughter, Kellie at home. I’m sure the house fell pretty big in those days, but it wasn’t an empty nest yet. Through those years, the three girls might have move out and comeback home a couple of times, and I’m sure that felt kind of nice to Allyn and Chris, but then came the day, a year and a half ago, when their daughter, Jessi would get married to Jason, and she would permanently move out. Lindsay was living and going to college in Brookings South Dakota by then, and Kellie took over Jessie’s rented house, making Allyn and Chris officially empty nesters.
Of course, with all that change takes away from a person, it also adds to the person. Not only did Allyn and Chris now have a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law, and the two grandchildren, but this was also about the time that the grandchildren started to be old enough to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa…thus alleviating the loneliness that often accompanies the empty nest. It is really the biggest blessing of having grandchildren, as any grandparent will tell you. Your children’s children can fill that void left in your life when your children move out. And their parents don’t mind the free babysitting service either. Now, in just 4 days, Allyn’s daughter, Lindsay will marry Shannon in Florida, where they are moving. Her husband to be was just hired at Florida International University in Miami. While I know that Allyn is very happy for her daughter and soon to be son-in-law, I also know that she will miss them very much, as it will be harder for them to run home for a weekend visit.
With all the twist and turns on Allyn’s life’s road have changed her life dramatically they have also enriched it. Before long there will be new grandbabies and one more wedding, and I know that Allyn is looking forward to each of them, as their time arrives, because as we all know a growing family is always a great blessing. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Daughters-in-law come in many forms. Some can be difficult to get along with, and some can be simply impossible to get along with. However, some can be sweet and special, and easy to get along with. Of course, that works both ways. Mothers-in-law have been notorious to sticking their noses in where they don’t belong, or at least many have been given that bad rap in the past, whether they were really like that or not. But when the relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is a good one, it can be very rewarding to all concerned. If they will allow themselves to get along, they might just find that their mother-in-law, or daughter-in-law can be very helpful, now and for years to come.
I can’t say for sure, but it seems to me that in years past, there was less discord between in-laws, be they mothers, fathers, daughters, or sons. Bob’s great grandmother seemed to have a very pleasant relationship with with her daughters-in-law. While they didn’t always live near each other, they did for a time, and the way I understand things, they enjoyed spending time together.
I think that relationships with the in-laws, are to a very large degree about working things out together. It is about each person being understanding of the feelings of the other person. People have good and bad days, and with understanding, and acceptance, people can get along. That is the only way those relationships can work. I’m sure that through the years there were mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships that were horrible, because that is the way things go in this world, but I truly think that the relationship between Bob’s great grandmother and her daughters-in-law, was a very good one. The little bit of time that I had the pleasure of knowing Great Grandma Knox, Grandma Knox, and Aunt Helen, I can honestly say that these women got along famously. Great Grandma Knox made several trips to visit her daughter-in-law, Bob’s grandma with her other daughter-in-law, Bob’s Aunt Helen, and his Uncle Frank. They enjoyed each other’s company, because they chose to not only get along, but to like each other.
When you are caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, you need all the help you can get. Because of the necessity for extreme hands on care, one person simply cannot do it alone. Our family understands that all too well. It takes a village as my sister, Alena would say to take care of any ill family member, but all too often it is hard to put that village together. This last year, the village involved in caring for my mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s, grew by one very important member. My mother-in-law’s sister, Margee retired from her job and offered to help when we needed to leave my mother-in-law home for any reason. Margee sits with my mother-in-law when I need to take my father-in-law to the doctor or if he needs time to get away for a little bit. And when he was in the hospital for a few days recently, Margee played a major role in her sister’s care. We would have been in a very serious situation without her help.
Margee is no stranger to stepping up when she is needed. Her own daughter-in-law died a little over 13 years ago, leaving behind a grieving husband, Margee’s son Dan and two small children, Zech and Stasi, who needed care. Margee stepped up and cared for them all. It was a terribly sad time in their lives. Margee was virtually alone for parts of it, while Dan worked in another state. The kids are almost grown up now, and Dan is working back here in Casper, but they still need each other very much.
Caregiving or helping to raise one’s grandchildren, can be very challenging, and it takes a special kind of person to do it. Margee has been such a blessing to us. As my mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s has progressed, I don’t know how we could manage the needs of both her and my father-in-law, who has Emphysema, if we didn’t have Margee’s help. She is free during the day, when the doctors appointments are, and she doesn’t mind helping out. I know my mother-in-law enjoys the time with her sister too, though she doesn’t remember the visits once they are over. Still, we know, and we remind my mother-in-law…and we appreciate it very much.
Today is Margee’s birthday. I want to thank her for her dedicated service to her sister and brother-in-law at a time in their lives when they truly needed her help. That is love. I don’t know what we would have done without Margee…and I can’t say enough about how wonderful she has been. Thank you Margee for all you do and who you are. You mean so much to all of us. Happy birthday!! We love you!!
Growing up on ranches and around horses, my mother-in-law felt very at home on the back of a horse. She loved them, and really still does today. Western shows are her favorite shows, other than game shows and of course, the rodeo. In her mind, the drama of a cop show, or the laughs of a comedy, can’t even begin to measure up.
For me, it is very hard to imagine her in that type of life. I have been her daughter-in-law for almost 37 years now. That was all after the years that she had and rode horses. She was a skilled seamstress, could knit and crochet with the skill of a professional. She supplemented the family income with the clothing she made and the sewing repairs she did. She also grew a garden and canned vegetables. That is the person I knew as my mother-in-law for many years. She was a capable homemaker and mother.
So much has changed since those years. Alzheimer’s Disease has take most of what she once was. These days, the knitting needles lay quietly in a box somewhere, as do the crochet hooks. They have moved to town now, so there is no more garden or canning, and she would not remember how to do those things anyway. She often talks about sewing on a button or making a shirt, but I’m sure she would not remember how to do those things anymore. She doesn’t remember how to drive, and would not know where to go if she did try to drive.
So much confuses her these days. She remembers her family on most days, but thinks that my grown daughters, who have both been married for more than 16 years and have teenaged children, should still be in high school. In fact, all of her grandchildren should be too young to be married, although most of them are married and have been for some time.
Age changes us all, but when Alzheimer’s Disease comes into the picture, the changes are so cruel. The person knows things aren’t right, but they are powerless to change the situation. It scares them sometimes, because they suddenly don’t know where they are…and they are in their own house. They don’t feel safe going places, because they no longer know where they are going, and as time goes on, they aren’t sure who is taking them, and it is their own family. Yes, everyone changes as they age, but for some people, it can be traumatic. Alzheimer’s Disease is an ugly thief…it steals it’s victims mind and eventually every other part of their body. I hope someday they will find a cure.