While their 25th anniversary was three years ago, my daughter, Amy Royce and her husband Travis Royce are heading out today on their 28th anniversary to celebrate their 25th anniversary, which just so happened to land in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. They had wanted to take a cruise to Alaska for their 25th anniversary, but the cruise ships weren’t sailing then. Now they are, and the ridiculous restrictions are gone, so off they go to have the trip of a lifetime, and I am so excited for them. Since Amy’s dad and I took an Alaskan cruise and absolutely loved every minute of it, I can’t wait for them to experience the same amazing trip we did.

Amy and Travis are so perfect for each other. They are both funny and they like many of the same things. They don’t get stressed or bent out of shape about things, but rather they pretty much go with the flow of life. I think that’s a big part of why their marriage works so well. In a number of ways, they remind me of how my parents and grandparents were with each other. From pet names to the way they think, they just fit in with that same easy compatibility that my parents and grandparents had. It’s funny how some couples can immediately seem like they have been married for decades, and it just gets better and better as the years go by. Amy and Travis are like that. I love the pet names especially, although I won’t tell them here, because that is their names for each other, and not for anyone else to use.

Amy and Travis lived in Wyoming while they raised their children, but then moved to Washington state in 2004. They do love it there, and it is beautiful. Of course, we miss them, because we don’t get to see them very much, but going for visits is always a great treat. They have a beautiful place up in the Ferndale area and they love fixing up the yard with flowers and turning it into an oasis. They are so happy with their home, and they love to entertain family and friends there. They have a garage/recreation room that has been turned into the T&Avern, which is their own private club. They have a pool table in there and you might even get to listen to Tavis and Caalab play guitars, while Shai sings. Caalab and Shai are their two grown kids. For Amy and Travis, it’s an ideal life. Today is their 28th Anniversary. Happy anniversary on the Royal Princess!! Have a wonderful time!! We love you!!

My younger daughter was born and raised in Casper, Wyoming, but these days she calls Ferndale, Washington home. Amy always hated the cold Wyoming winters, and while it does get somewhat cold in northern western Washington state, it’s nothing like the cold of Wyoming. Plus, my Wyoming born and raised, beach girl couldn’t resist the fact that she could be just eight miles from Birch Bay, and the beautiful beach there. The beach is definitely Amy’s happy place, and she loves Birch Bay.

In addition to her love of the beach, Amy is a garden girl, with a green thumb that shocks her brown thumbed mom. I think she must have gotten it from grandparents, because they were all blessed with a green thumb and beautiful gardens. Amy’s favorite flower is the Calla Lily, but it is followed closely be a number of other flowers, like orchids, bleeding hearts, roses, and any new species that catches her eye. Amy and her husband, Travis have turned their back yard into an oasis, and they love spending time out there. The put in a couple of ponds, and now they have little frogs that have moved it, plus, they have snails, of course. The snails have lived around there forever, so they are nothing new…except to me.

Amy is an insurance agent with Rice Insurance and has one of their biggest books of business. Since Covid, most of their agents began working from home, and Amy loves that. She loves her house so much, and now she gets to be there all the time. They even put a computer connection extension outside on their patio, so on nice days, she can actually take her computer outside, ads still get her work done. One of the nice things about the Ferndale area is that they don’t have a mosquito problem, so sitting outside for hours is not a problem. Working from home, keeps her at the house, and that doesn’t often allow for lunch out, but once in a will, she is able to take a long enough lunch to go out to eat. Then, she and Travis might drive that eight miles to have lunch at one of the restaurants at Birch Bay. That satisfies her beach girl sand and water needs quite nicely.

Amy and Travis love to entertain too, so their beautiful back yard is the perfect place. Recently, they had friends over for a Corn Hole tournament. I figured that since Amy and Travis were running the tournament, that they would win, but their friends must be really good at it too, because Amy and Travis were the first ones out. In the end, their son, Caalab and friend, Sam won it. Oh well, you can’t win them all, and I know Caalab is good. I’ve played against him, and well, I didn’t fare well either. Anyone who is blessed to be invited to the Royce T&Avern (as they call their rec room), always has a great time. Today is Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My son-in-law, Travis Royce has surprised me over the years. He didn’t do it intentionally, but rather he just turned out to be different than what I expected him to be. When he and my daughter, Amy live in Ferndale, Washington these days, out in the country, which is totally not what I expected of them. They just didn’t seem the type when they first got married in 1995. Of course, they were kids then, and they were into the typical things that young people were. They music they liked was different than the music I like…well, it still is, so I guess that hasn’t changed. Still the music they like doesn’t normally seem typical of country living.

Travis is a very social person, another thing that doesn’t seem to fit with country living, but there is another side to Travis too. The side that loves the peace and quiet he finds in his back yard in the country. He loves sitting out in the back yard watching a fire in their fire pit. He feels so relaxed there. Don’t get me wrong, Travis still likes to go out, have a few drinks with friends, and do a little gambling, but it’s almost like the ranch family going out to a square dance on a Saturday night, and afterward, head back home to country living. The fact is that as often as not, Travis would rather have people over at their house that go out. When their kids, Shai and Caalab come over, Travis enjoys playing the guitar with Caalab, while the girls sing. I’ve had the privilege of attending some of their little impromptu concerts, and they are really good. The whole family has talent, and that makes it a lot of fun.

Because Travis loves yard work…or at least mowing the lawn, their yard always looks amazing. And Amy loves flowers, so she adds her special touches, and the effect of lovely. I can understand why they like being out there in the peaceful beauty of their back yard, because I have been there myself and it is very peaceful. Travis loves his yard work so much, and his yard tools too. In fact, that was never more evident than recently when he went out in the back yard and started using his leaf blower. there were no leaves to blow away, so Amy thought the picture was quite comical. Maybe it was, but I think it is also very much Travis. My guess is that while he wasn’t blowing leaves away, h might have seen some dirt or pine needles, and decided that the leaf blower was the best tool for the job. It’s as simple as that. Today is Travis birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageimageMy son-in-law, Travis Royce loves to mow the lawn. He always has. When he first told us that, we were surprised. I had never met anyone who truthfully enjoyed mowing the lawn. He used to mow our lawn when they lived in an apartment, just so he could have a lawn to mow. I think one of the things he never really liked about Wyoming was the shorter lawn growing season, because unlike mowing the lawn…he hates shoveling snow. I can’t really say that I blame him there, but I can’t see myself ever enjoying the job of lawn mowing. When Amy and Travis bought a house here in Casper, Travis finally got to mow his own lawn, but it was a small yard, and it didn’t take very long, so he didn’t really get to mow as much as he wanted.

After their move to Ferndale, Washington, Travis finally got the yard of his dreams…and it came with a riding lawn mower. Travis was in Seventh Heaven. As the kids put it, they bought a riding lawnmower, and while they overpaid for the lawnmower, they did ok in that the house and yard came as a part of the deal. Now Travis can finally be mow happy. I have only seen their new yard in pictures, but I do know that it is really a big yard. There are some beautiful trees there, and yet the yard is open and spaceous…and that is just the pictures I’ve seen, without the perspective of seeing it in person. I am looking forward to going for a visit, so I can see this amazing riding lawnmower that is apparently made of gold, because it cost a lot of money, and came with a free house and yard. What more could you ask for?

Of course, as happy as his riding lawnmower has made Travis, he simply can’t mow the lawn all the time, or it would quickly be mowed down to dirt, so he and Amy had to figure out something else to do too. They came up Cyber Dartsimagewith the idea, along with their friends, Burt and Amy, to play darts via Skype. If course, they can’t both shoot for the same dart board, but with Skype, they can each see how the other side is doing. As is common in these couples matches, it was guys against girls. I would love to say that the girls won, but unfortunately, that would be a lie…they lost. Nevertheless, it was an innovative way to play long distance darts, and girls…I think you need to practice up and call for a rematch, and show those guys how it’s really done!! Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageAs any photographer knows, half the battle is being in the right place at the right time. Everyone loves a great photograph, especially the ones that capture something that isn’t often seen. Being in the right place at the right time is crucial, because some events don’t happen very often…especially in front of people. That is exactly where my daughter, Amy Schulenberg Royce found herself recently. While walking on the beach near her Ferndale, Washington home, Amy commonly sees seagulls in flight. The Puget Sound is a prime feeding ground for seagulls, so they are everywhere.

imageAmy loves to walk along the beach, view the sunsets, and listen to the sounds of harbor life. The horns of the ferry boats, the gulls squawking, the waves splashing onto the shore, and the people out enjoying themselves. It was during one of these peaceful walks that a seagull flew in close to shore. Amy took a picture with her iPhone and then realized that this gull had a starfish in it beak. As he landed, she scrambled to take more pictures, but he didn’t stay long. When she looked at her pictures, she realized that the first picture…the one where she had no idea that the gull had a starfish, was the perfect photo capture. What an exciting moment that was for her. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t staged, it was just perfectly right…all by itself, with no help from anyone. All she had to do was snap.
I’ve looked at lots of photographs taken by lots of photographers, professional and amateur alike, and while planned shots are great, it is the shot that was pure chance that sticks in your memory files. The one where a seagull looks right at you, because he can’t figure out what that human, with a camera on its face, is exactly. Or as in Amy’s case, the picture you took when you didn’t know what you had…yet. Those are great, because they are such a nice surprise. It may be a really long time before Amy finds herself in the right place at the right time to see a seagull successfully capture a starfish, or it could happen again tomorrow…if she finds herself in the right place at the right time again.

11138583_10205158822163710_7811955475298618260_nWe have all heard of the World’s Fair, and I think most of us know about the big push between nations to have it held in their country. After World War II, the United States didn’t get to host the World’s Fair until April 21, 1962. I think that most of us knows of the Seattle Space Needle, and I think that most adults know that it was a part of the World’s Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition. The fair ran from April 21, 1962 to October 21, 1962, in Seattle, Washington, of course.

Nearly 10 million people attended the fair in Seattle that year. So many World’s Fairs did not make a profit, but unlike the other world’s fairs of that era, Century 21 did make a profit. After the expedition, Seattle Space Needlewas left with a fairground and many public buildings and public works. It really revitalized Seattle’s economic and cultural life. The Space Needle was built there, of course, and the Alweg monorail, as well as several sports venues…Washington State Coliseum, now Key Arena and performing arts buildings…the Playhouse, now the Cornish Playhouse. Many of these have been remodeled or replaced now, but the whole area started around the World’s Fair. The Space Needle was built to withstand wind speeds of 200 mph, double the requirements in the building code of 1962. An earthquake registering 6.8 on the Richter scale jolted the Needle enough in 2001 for water to slosh out of the toilets in the restrooms. The Space Needle will not sustain serious 11036888_10205159004168260_7395084702609884511_nstructural damage during earthquakes of magnitudes below 9. I think it is an amazing structure.

Since my daughter, Amy Royce and her family have moved to northern Washington, we have had the opportunity to visit the area and the Space Needle. I had been there before, but my husband, Bob had not. It doesn’t matter how many times you go up in the Space Needle, because each time is spectacular. The view is amazing, and since you can walk all the way around it, you have a different view on each side. The area is beautiful to be sure. I don’t know how often Amy and her family will get down there, now that they have moved to the Bellingham/Ferndale area, but I don’t think I would live that close without taking a trip to see a little bit of history once in a while.

imageimageYears ago, when my sisters, Cheryl Masterson, Alena Stevens, Allyn Hadlock, and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington to visit our sister, Caryl Reed, who was living there then, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Tulip Festival. We drove north from Caryl’s house until we reached Tulip Town near Mount Vernon, Washington. There we were treated to the most amazing sight. There were tulips everywhere. It looked like miles and miles of them. They were planted by color, so we saw rows and rows of each color. It was like looking at a tulip rainbow. That trip, taken in the Spring of 1993 has many lingering memories for me, but I must say that the Tulip Festival was one of the coolest of memories. You just don’t easily forget something like that.

Now that my daughter, Amy Royce lives in Ferndale, Washington, she finds herself right in the area where the imageimageTulip Festival is held every year. Before they moved to Washington, they took a trip there at the perfect time, and were able to catch the Tulip Festival, so this year was Amy’s second, of what I am sure will become an annual visit to the Tulip Festival. This year, she went with her friend from Elementary School, Karen Bradley Sargent, her husband, John, and her two little boys, Oliver and Logan. The pictures she posted were lovely. They were just as I remembered it, but of course, pictures could not possibly do justice to being at the Tulip Festival. You have to see it to truly experience it.

I know that they all had a wonderful time yesterday, and I really wish I could have joined them, because I would love to go to the Tulip Festival again. I can’t say that I ever wanted my daughter to move away, but I imageimagesuppose that if she had to do it, there could possibly be a few perks here and there. I really do love the North Western Washington area, and the Tulip Festival. I know that somewhere down the road, I will have to make the trip up to see Amy, when the Tulip Festival is going on so that I can go to it again. For now and for this year anyway, I will have to just settle for the pictures that Amy sends, and the memories I carry in my memory files, because the Tulip Festival is over, or would be before I would be able to get there anyway. So Amy, thanks for the beautiful pictures, and for the memories.

Bob and Caryn - the early yearsIt’s funny, how time changes people. When our daughters, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen and Amy Schulenberg Royce, were little, we lived on a place east of Casper. We had a well, septic system, and our home was heated by propane. All that didn’t matter to the girls, and when they were little, they didn’t mind living in the country. I suppose it was just normal, and having all that space was a nice thing for them. They could ride their bicycles all over the place, and there were friends near enough for them to have playmates. For kids with no place to go exactly, the whole thing was just fine. Bob and I liked it too during those years. Of course, when we started bowling…like every day, living in the country wasn’t quite as convenient. We were I town all the time. In fact, my sister, Alena Stevens told me once that we weren’t country people…we were city people who slept in the country. She was right, of course. It wasn’t too long before we began to think about moving to town….but I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

As the girls became teenagers, and began driving and dating, the whole thing about living in the country…well, Corrie & Kevinthe girls didn’t like it so much anymore. The long distance to town became an annoyance to them, and in the Winter months, the roads…which were awful, made for a treacherous drive both morning and night. Their boyfriends weren’t too keen on coming all the way out there to pick them up, but I must say, that Corrie’s husband, Kevin was a pretty good sport about it. Still with both future husbands, there were many times when dates took place after the girls got off work, and that meant that they had to drive themselves home afterward. I think it was about the time that the girls started driving, that I began to see that living in the country was not always sunshine and wide open spaces. There was a lot of dangers that my girls had to face on those drives home, and I don’t think I would have survived those years, had it not been for prayer and God’s angels to watch over my babies. We had taught them how to drive, and what to do to be safe, but when you turn your girl loose to drive home at midnight, you need the angels out there with them. That’s all there is to it.

Then came the time when we decided that country living wasn’t all it had been cracked up to be when the girls were little. Unfortunately for Corrie, the final decision to move to town came after her marriage…much to her Amy & Travis in Seattledismay. And in reality, it came only eight months before Amy’s marriage to Travis. Once we moved to town, I found myself really back in my element again, because I had been raised in Casper, after all. Bob was raised in the country, but he adapted to living in town like a man who had never lived a day of his life in the country. Corrie and Kevin live in Casper too, as did Amy and Travis before their move to Washington. Now, strangely, as they have purchased their home in Ferndale, Washington…or should I say ten minutes outside Ferndale, Amy and Travis…or at least Amy, has come full circle, and is living in the country again. Travis, like me, was raised in the city. Nevertheless, they will quickly get a handle on the whole country living thing…complete with a well, septic system, and propane. How strange is that?

imageAmy & Travis in SeattleYesterday was my daughter, Amy Royce’s last day at her job at Insurance Services Group in Edmonds, Washington. They gave her a nice sendoff, and were sorry to see her go. This wasn’t the original plan when Amy, her husband, Travis, and their son, Caalab moved to the Seattle area, but as things sometimes do, their plans were changed when they bought a house in the little town of Ferndale, Washington, which is ten miles north of Bellingham, an hour and a half north of their apartment in Lynwood, Washington. For that reason, it is no longer feasible for Amy to work in Edmonds. The drive home last night took Amy two hours, because of traffic…and that was on the interstate. A drive like that on a daily basis would be grueling…to say the least.
I have a feeling that this new chapter in their lives is going to be very different from any other chapter in their lives. Having come from a city of 55,000 plus people, and then from Lynnwood, which has a population of 36,000 plus people…which is deceiving in that the cities in that area all run together, making the true population much higher in reality, this change is surprising for sure. You see, Ferndale, Washington is a small town of 11,415 people. It just grew by two, and when Caalab moves up, three, but that still makes it a small town. To top it off, their home is about 5.6 miles north of town. What that means is that my little country girl, turned city girl, is not a country girl again. That is totally shocking to me, because she couldn’t wait to move to town when we lived in the country. Things do change as you get older, I guess. What you didn’t like before doesn’t seem so bad now. Still, it’s strange to think of Amy using propane and having a well.

Now the real work begins. Amy and Travis will be unpacking and setting up their new home, while Caalab will stay at the apartment in Lynnwood until his last day at his job. He will join them toward the end of the month. PackingNew HouseI’m very excited to see how the house looks when they are done, but that may take a little bit of time, since they will start their new jobs on Wednesday. Both of them will be working in Bellingham, so they can take one car to work. I’m not sure of the name of the shop where Travis will be working, but Amy will be joining Rice Insurance. That is a great opportunity for her, because Rice Insurance writes for all 50 states. She has a lot to learn, but it will be exciting for sure. Caalab will be going to school soon, but that’s another story. I am very happy for them. This is going to be a great new chapter in their lives.

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