I first met my nephew, Riley Birky, when he was 9 years old, and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg. Over the years that he has been in our family, Riley has gone through the fairly typical years of a kid, with the teen years being typically the most tumultuous, as is the case with most teens. While those were tough times for Riley, one thing that you could always count on, was that you could always count on Riley. Riley might not have always been excited about helping out, but if he said he would help you with something, he would. He always had a tendency to take care of everybody before himself. If there is a call for assistance with something, Riley will be the first to respond. His mom say of Riley, “He is so brave and committed and always striving to do his best.”
Those kid days are long gone now, and Riley is grown up. He works very hard doing concrete work at Griffis Quality Fencing and Welding in Powell, Wyoming. Riley likes his job and is a great employee. He finds the work interesting. Riley has grown into a good man, and that is one of the best things that can be said about a man. Riley likes his job, but it isn’t all that he is about. Like most people, your job is what you do to earn money to do what you want to do. Riley likes adventure…doing something new and exciting. He also loves the outdoors.
Riley has grown up so much in the past year. He has a great group of friends, who have been there for him. He has also been blessed with a wonderful girlfriend, Sierah Martin, and her two-year-old son, Jace. Riley loves kids, and was always such a great big brother to his brother, Tucker Schulenberg. They don’t get to see each other as much as they used to, since Tucker lives in Casper, but they are still close. Riley was also blessed this year to become a godparent to a sweet little boy. I think that has been a great honor to him. Today is Riley’s 20th birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandson, Caalab Royce met a girl a while back and they have been almost inseparable ever since. Her name is Chloe Foster, and she is as sweet as she can be. These kids are perfect for each other. Both are dedicated to their families and to each other’s family too…and the cool thing is that their families like each other too. It’s always special when you can join two families…because the kids got together. When Caalab met Chloe, his whole life changed. I really didn’t hear about anything else but Chloe, and when we met her, we could see what he saw in her. Her personality was totally infectious, and I enjoyed meeting her very much.
As Chloe’s birthday approached I began to wonder about this girl who holds my grandson’s heart. I knew that she is studying criminal justice in college, and that she is a Christian, which makes me very happy. She has a sweet spirit, which I have seen in the things she posts. Caalab tells me that she has been spending part of the “shelter-at-home” time in which we have all found ourselves, studying the Bible. She is a girl who prays and allows God to lead her in the way she should go. These kinds of things make my heart glad.
Chloe is also a very talented artist. She recently sat down and is just a few hours she had painted a watercolor picture of Bob Marley. Caalab really likes Bob Marley, so he was very impressed with her work. I don’t know too much about Bob Marley, but I know enough to recognize him in her painting. She did a good job. Recently, I friended Chloe’s mom on Facebook, and when looking at her pictures, I saw some of the funnier ways that Chloe uses her artwork…namely, greeting cards. I won’t display them here, but let’s just say she thanked her parents for their part in giving her life…her mom for Chloe’s first home, and her dad for putting her and her brothers, Tyson and Tanner, in the race in the first place. The cards were tastefully done, and very sweet in a funny sort of way, but they told me more about this girl who has loved cows for much of her life. I thought it funny, when my granddaughter, Shai Royce, Caalab’s sister, told me to buy Chloe something with a cow on it for Christmas…now, I can see that Shai knows Chloe pretty well. Shai loves Chloe as much (well almost as much) as Caalab does. As a grandmother, I can say it is heartwarming to know that someone cares so much for my grandson…that she not only holds his heart, but she protects it too. Today is Chloe’s birthday. Happy birthday Chloe!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Keifer Balcerzak joined our family on June 22, 2002, when his dad, Dave Balcerzak married my niece Chantel. Kiefer was fourteen at the time, and while he was close to being grown, I had the chance to get to know him during the time that Dave and Chantel were dating. He was a great kid then, and is a great young man now. Keifer’s personality is a lot like his dad. He is outgoing and a fun person to be around. It’s strange to think of all the grand nieces and nephews being grown up now, and starting lives of their own, but that is what is happening.
Keifer has always been a worker. He worked for Charter Communications for some time, but recently left there to take his dad’s old position at the State of Wyoming, which Dave vacated when he was promoted. So now Keifer is on the IT Help Desk. I always though his technical capabilities were far above the level it takes to install and repair cable lines. I think Keifer probably got his technical capabilities from his dad, but he has studied and earned his place in IT by his own hard work. Fixing technical issues on computers is no small job. There are enough hackers out there to put any business at risk. The big corporations have to have their own dedicated personnel to keep their computers running with a minimum of downtime. They can’t wait for someone from a tech company to show up to help. Too many people and programs depend on computers that run and run properly.
On May 9, 2015, Keifer married his longtime girlfriend, Katie Davidson. They have been dating for seven years, and so they almost seemed married already. They are a great couple, and I know that their marriage will be very blessed. Even though they have been together a long time, marriage is still a wonderful new adventure, and I know they are having a great time. I don’t know Katie very well, but from what I do know, I like her very much. The main thing is that she makes Keifer happy. That goes a long way in our family.
Keifer is a lot like his dad in computer capabilities, but I’m sure he also got his looks from his dad too. The older he gets, the more he looks like Dave. In fact, there are pictures of him that I have almost mistaked for Dave. Today is Keifer’s birthday. Happy birthday Keifer!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As a little girl, I always loved my Aunt Delores Johnson. She had such a positive outlook on life, almost like she had some secret joyful memories in her mind. What a wonderful way to be. Aunt Dee and my mom were always good friends, as well as sisters. Her children, Ellen, Elmer, Darla, and Delwin were of similar age to my sisters and me, so it was always fun when we got together.
As my parents’ second child, I was at an age where I was feeling a little bit left out of things when my older sister, Cheryl got to spend the night with her friends. That said, I decided to see if I could spend the night with a friend too, and somehow the one I chose was my cousin, Elmer. Needless to say, I was at an age when the fact that he was a boy and I was a girl had no effect on my thinking. Mom and her sister decided that it would be ok for me to stay, but unbeknownst to me, the plan included the fact that I would be sleeping with Elmer’s younger sister, Darla. Now, Darla was the age of my younger sister, Caryl, so that made her three years younger than me, and not a prime choice for the sleeping arrangement, as far as I was concerned. Nevertheless, I was overruled, and the plan went on as they had decided. In the end, I had fun, but as I recall, Darla had a tendency to kick, so I don’t think I slept very well, but I did get to spend the night with a friend, so I guess I was happy about that. Still, I never forgot having to sleep with Darla, or the lesson I had learned…that when picking a friend to spend the night with, it is probably best, in my case anyway, to make it a girlfriend.
Aunt Dee was always fun to be around, even if I wasn’t spending the night, which I believe only happened once for obvious reasons. She smiled a lot, and had a very kind and loving spirit, and a great laugh. She was the kind of person who got along with everyone, but if you went up against her family, you better watch out, because she would protect them to the end, and isn’t that the kind of person you would want to have in your corner? While I must say that my spending the night experience was a bit of a disappointment, Aunt Dee did it in the kindest way possible, and I guess you might say she was protecting my honor, or my reputation, even though at my young age it probably wasn’t necessary. Nevertheless, Aunt Dee and my mom were always ones to do the right thing. Today would have been my Aunt Dee’s 83rd birthday, and I miss her very much. Happy birthday in Heaven Aunt Dee. We love you.
Our nephew, Tucker has always been such a happy kid. He loves life and all that it has to offer. Tucker find humor in things that the rest of us might not see as humorous…a good trait to have when you think about it. Tucker gets very excited with he sees someone that he likes to be around, often running up to them like a streak to give them a hug!!
Tucker started Kindergarten this year, and he is quickly showing his parents what a smart little boy he is. He was coloring with my brother-in-law, Ron, his step-dad, and they started talking about the colors he was using. Tucker wanted to know how Ron knew the specific color of the crayon, like yellow orange. Ron showed him where the color is shown on the crayon, and Tucker immediately began checking out each crayon, and reading of the name. Reading seems to be one of the areas Tucker likes best, which is a good thing, because we all know that if you are a good reader, you can pretty much excel in any subject you are interested, and many that you aren’t.
I don’t know if Tucker has a girlfriend at the moment, but in the past, he has been totally smitten with his early life best friend, Kaytlyn, who has now become his cousin by marriage. I don’t know how that would work out, but since he is only 6 years old, I think we are safe…for now. Of course, his all time best friend is his big brother, Riley. They do lots of things together, and Tucker knows that Riley is there for him, no matter what. A guy really needs a friend like that sometimes, and Tucker is very glad that his brother, Riley is that friend.
Tucker also loves the dogs, and they have some really great times together. I can’t tell you what joke the dog told Tucker, but it must have been a really good one, because Tucker had a really good laugh over that one. Today is Tucker’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Tucker!! Have a great time at Six Flags!! We love you!!
When you are one of two brothers, in a family of six children, your life is spent with a whole lot of female influence, and with most sisters, that means being bossed around a lot. Now if you happen to be the youngest boy and the youngest child, you usually get a double dose from each sister. Such was the case for my brother-in-law, Ron. My in-laws essentially had to families, even though all the children have the same parents. Marlyce was the oldest, with Debbie following 3 years later. Bob is 17 months younger than Debbie. Then it would be 7 years before Jennifer came along. Brenda would follow 2 years later, and Ron was born 5 years after Brenda. So the older kids were like one family and the younger kids were like another, even though Ron is 5 years younger than Brenda. That put the two brothers 14 years apart.
Now, you would expect that so many years between them would have made it impossible to have a very close relationship, but you would be wrong. I think that by the time Ron came along, Bob had pretty much given up on the idea of having a brother, so when Ron was born, I think Bob decided that the brothers needed to stick together, since it was them against all the women in the family. Bob moved out of the house when he was 19, and Ron was almost 6. It was about this time that I met Bob.
Our dating days were different than some, I suppose, because often times we took Ron along. He was a happy little 6 year old boy, and who wouldn’t be, when his big brother and his brother’s girlfriend allowed him to go along to places like Dairy Queen. He was a good little boy, and the three of us always had a great time. Little kids can be so funny, and we enjoyed his joyful presence. I had never had a brother, so to me, Ron has always been that brother I never had. And like most siblings, I could almost say that I have known him since birth…although not quite.
I know there may be other brothers who got to do the things Ron did because their big brother liked having them around, but I don’t know of any. Most big brothers just want their kid brother to leave them alone. For Bob and Ron, their relationship then, and now is a blessing to both of them, and therefore very cool. Today is Ron’s birthday. Happy birthday little…ok, big now…brother!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Little boys are all pretty much the same. They are curious. They want to know about everything that is going on around them. I can’t say that I blame them. There are a lot of interesting things to see, do, and learn about, in this world. Now I’m not saying that girls aren’t curious, and this story could just as easily have been written about little girls, but today’s story is about boys…and one in particular.
When my mom was a little girl, school pictures were done differently than they are today, and even differently than when I was a little girl. I don’t know if they took any individual pictures, but so far, I haven’t come across any. The pictures were taken by class. While I have seen some with the whole class together, I have also seen some with just the girls and just the boys. That is something that wasn’t done when I was a little girl, and indeed later on, the class picture was just a grouping of the individual pictures, placed together on a 5 x 7 picture.
The funny thing about the curiosity of little boys is that there always seems to be one who is a bit of a lady’s man, and just loves hanging out with the girls. That same little boy probably wants to be right in the middle of everything. That little boy will somehow insert himself into situations where he just doesn’t belong, such as this little boy, who managed to be at the edge of, and leaning into the picture of the girls…just close enough to get into the picture. The cameras of yesteryear were unable to view the picture, and therefore, you really didn’t know what you had until the film was developed. The photographer probably never saw this little boy leaning into the picture until the film was developed, and they were stuck with it, because it cost more to retake.
Now, it is possible that the photographer, the teacher, and maybe even the parents were upset with this turn of events, but I, personally, find it very cute. I picture this little boy as the one who loved little girls a lot, and didn’t really care if anyone knew it. He was curious about them, and wanted to know all about them. He might have even had a girlfriend in that group…or maybe several. That is how a lady’s man is. Try as he might, he doesn’t just stick with one girl…at least until he finds that one girl who changes everything, and removes his lady’s man status. Until that day comes, he goes from girlfriend to girlfriend, and might even have more than one at a time. Whatever the case may be, I think that there is always one little boy like that in every class, and sometimes there are several. That is just the way little boys are.
My younger sisters, Caryl and Alena were in high school, when our church decided to have a church camp. All the cool stuff happened after I went through, of course. I had always thought church camp…or camp in general would be great fun, but there just wasn’t one when I was the right age. Anyway, the girls went to church camp for a week, and everyone had a great time. That was a week that the girls would remember for many years, filled with friendships, both new and continuing, and new boyfriends, but then what was camp for anyway, if not for finding a new boyfriend.
It’s funny how camp always seems to end up with those boyfriend/girlfriend situations. Most of them don’t last very long, because other than camp, what did you really have in common anyway. But sometimes, there were a few that lasted as long as any other boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The friendships the girls made at camp, whether with boys or girls, did last for years to come, however.
You never know how far reaching those friendships can be until years later. And you also don’t know how strong family resemblances can be either. About 5 or 10 years ago, I was approached by a man at the mall, when Bob and I were in the food court having a lemonade, and he said, did your last name used to be Spencer. Amazed, I said “Yes, how did you know that?” He told me that he had gone to church camp with my sisters when they were all in high school, back in the late 70’s, and he knew that I had to be their sister, because we looked so much alike. Now, I have always known that we looked a lot alike, but seriously, the last time he had seen my sisters was about 25 years earlier. I marveled at how he had picked me out of all the people at the mall, and without my sisters there, and he just knew I was their sister.
We talked for a couple of minutes, with him reminiscing about the fun times they had a church camp, all those years ago. Then he asked me to tell my sisters hello for him and he went his way. I don’t remember his name anymore, but the girls were sure surprised that I had run into him and he knew I was their sister. They were even more surprised that he still thought about church camp after all those years. But then, some experiences just stay with you. Maybe it’s about wishing we could have our youth back, maybe about lost loves, and maybe it’s just about the fact that some experiences are just so much fun that we want to reminisce about them once in a while, just for the fun of it.
My niece Jessi, recently married her best friend, and a wonderful addition to our family. We all like Jason very much…especially his humor. Little did we know, however that Jason would become so special to us in another way, so very soon. You see, Jason is a Highway Patrolman, and no, this is not a story of getting out of a ticket or anything like that at all. This is a story with far greater meaning than anything as trivial as a speeding ticket. This is a story of things that really matter.
Yesterday, my son-in-law’s dad and his girlfriend were heading out to go camping. They were pulling a travel trailer behind them. It was a beautiful day, and they were really looking forward to the weekend. Unfortunately, before they even got past Outer Drive, disaster would strike. The trailer blew a tire, and began to fishtail. The trailer began to bounce along the road, and almost tipped the truck over when the trailer jack knifed and pushed the truck into the oncoming lane of traffic. The truck went up on 2 wheels and then came back down hard. Finally the trailer disconnected from the truck and rolled several times along the road, before hitting a delineator post and coming to a halt in the ditch, completing the destruction of the trailer.
When my son-in-law got to the scene, not knowing what to expect, he was immediately met by his new cousin, Jason, who let him know that his dad and girlfriend were ok. Shook up, but relieved, Kevin was then able to help his dad through this terrible ordeal. When my daughter Corrie arrived, she was practically in tears. Jason immediately told her not to worry, they were just fine, and he had been speaking to Kevin’s dad and girlfriend, so he was sure. Corrie immediately broke down and cried, after which Jason hugged her and comforted her. He showed her where to park her vehicle, and then took her over to see them.
Accidents are so traumatic, and especially when it is your loved one who is involved. Your nerves are raw, and the tears come very quickly. You can’t think, and when it is also hard to find out any information, it is even more traumatic. What a great blessing to have Jason be there when we needed him most. God certainly knew what he was doing when he brought Jessi and Jason together…and not just for Jessi. Thank you Jason!! What would my kids have done without you!!