grandkids

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Motherhood is such a complex occupation. Your actual title might be mom, mommy, momma, or some other version of the name, but you are so much more. You are a nurse, teacher, nurturer, referee, maid…well, you get the picture. A mother is the wearer of many hats, and we wouldn’t even be here without her. I have been blessed with two moms, Collene Spencer and Joann Schulenberg; two daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce; and two granddaughters-in-law with children, Karen Petersen and Athena Petersen. Babies are such a blessing, and then they grow into wonderful adults and the blessings continue for years to come.

Mother’s Day becomes something different wen you mom or mother-in-law are in Heaven. While they aren’t really gone, they are gone from our view, and that makes us sad. I’m sure that, like me, you probably thought your mom would always be there with you. We never expect them to leave us until they are gone, and then we realize just how much we will miss them. Those moments when we would love to call them, to say Hi, or to ask a question, or talk about our day, or even to cry on their shoulder. The day our mom leaves us is one of the hardest days we will ever have.

When we become moms, we find out how rewarding motherhood can be, but also, just how hard it can be too. Things like diaper changes, formula, and spitting up, soon give way to school days, school supplies, school clothes, and of course, the dreaded homework help. Still, watching them grow and mature is among the most rewarding things we will ever experience. Then, before our very eyes, they are making us into grandmothers, and the cycle of life continues. Our babies having babies and before we know it our grandbabies are having babies. Time just doesn’t stand still. It is always marching on.

Today is a day when we get to celebrate our mothers, our daughters who are mothers, and our granddaughters who are mothers. We celebrate, because they have made us so happy. They are among the most special people ever to walk the face of the Earth. Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers in my life, and the mothers in yours. Have a great day, ladies!! We love you so much!!

My sister, Allyn Hadlock, better known as Grammy. That name probably started out as just the grandkids, but as any grandparent knows, sooner or later, your kids call you that too, so their kids know who they are talking about. So, now, that is probably what more of them call her that. Her grandkids LOVE her. For Allyn, being “Grammy” is one of the most important aspects of her life. She loves to spend time with her grandkids, and if they live too far away, she visits or calls them. She is a hands-on Grammy, even if she is far away. Every morning before she gets ready for her day, she makes time to talk to granddaughter, Mackenzie Moore on video. Mackenzie looks forward to their call each day.

Ally’s top priority in life is and always will be God. She is a spiritual leader in her family…always leading through actions, words, and lots of love!! Allyn is very pure of heart. She has always served the Lord and works very hard to grow closer to Him every day. She devotes time to Bible study and worship every day. As her daughter, Lindsay says, “She is someone you can go to for prayer, advice, wisdom, questions, and know that she will help you find the answer or lead you towards Jesus. She’s such a GREAT and wonderful mom, uniquely equipped to mother and grandmother, called by God for something special!!” And in Lindsay style, “I’m obviously her favorite child.” Hahahahaha!! Ok, Lindsay, we will take your word for it.

Allyn works from home now, and really loves it. Allyn and her husband, Chris had their house built on his parents land east of town but the Platte River. They love it there. They feel totally at peace, and they love having gatherings and parties there too. So, it totally stands to reason that Allyn would be so happy to work from home now. It is her happy place. She is at peace there, and it puts a song in her heart. I can’t imagine a place that better suits my little sister. I’m sure that when she takes a break from work, and goes downstairs for a cup of coffee, her eyes are drawn to the river slowly going by out back…unless it’s frozen over, of course. There are turkeys that hang out back there, and a number of other critters. Everything from deer, to foxes, to all kinds of rodents scurry around her place. I suppose they are preparing for winter, or maybe just hanging out, but they obviously love her place just as much as she does. That is so cool. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Children, especially young children, don’t really understand what their working parents do every day, and sometimes can even feel abandoned when they are especially young. It’s not their fault. They love their parents, and all children experience some separation anxiety at some point. Once they get used to it, they are fine, of course, but those early days can be tough.

I don’t really know the motivation behind the day they call Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, also called Take Your Child to Work Day. It is a national day that gives children in the United States a brief look at what goes on in the working world…more specifically their parent’s working world. Of course, it’s not always completely authentic, because many of the organizations set up special events for that day. I personally think it would be better to make it as real as possible for the child…if the goal was to show the child what their parent does for a living. The program was developed by the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation, which is a non-profit educational organization. As the name depicts, the day revolves around “parents taking their children to work to expose students to future job possibilities and the value of education.” Originally, it was called Take Our Daughters To Work Day, but was expanded to include boys in 2003. I think that originally, the focus was on office jobs, which were considered more for the women, and the jobs men had might have seemed unsafe for children. I suppose that is still the case, but you can’t really discriminate on those jobs either, even if taking a child on a police ride-along might be dangerous.

Take Your Child To Work Day is celebrated in over 200 countries, but in the United States, it takes place on the fourth Thursday in April every year. The most recent Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day took place on Thursday, April 23, 2020. I suppose that Covid-19 Pandemic stopped them after that and I don’t know if companies are planning them for this year or not. Take Our Daughters to Work Day originated in New York City in the summer of 1992, started by the “Ms. Foundation for Women” and its president, Marie C. Wilson, the Women’s foundation treasurer, Daren Ball, and with support from foundation founder Gloria Steinem. It really began as a part of the Women’s Liberation movement, I suppose, but today it is very different than it was then. I am definitely not a “women’s libber” kind of girl, so that idea does not appeal to me at all. The first celebration took place on April 22, 1993, and has since been celebrated usually on the fourth Thursday of April in order for the 37 million children, parents, schools in over 3.5 million workplaces across the country, in addition to participants in over 200 countries around the world, to plan ahead for the annual event. The day is generally a school day for most children in the United States, so schools are provided with literature and encouraged to promote the program. Schools are provided with materials for incorporating career exploration into classwork on the day before or after the event. In 2007 the “day” became its own separate foundation, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work program was turned over to Carolyn McKecuen, a MacArthur Award recipient, who took effective control as its executive director before relocating to Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where it continues to this day. Gloria Steinem continues to maintain a role with the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation as a member of its board of directors.

The idea is that employees across the United States and around the world get to invite their own children or relatives to join them at work, but the program also encourages employees to invite children from residential programs or shelters who may not be exposed to many adults in skilled professions today. I have never worked in a company that specifically participated in Take Your Child To Work Day, but rather where I worked, at The Stengel Agency, we had an informal option to bring a child in randomly. Mydaughter, Amy Royce and granddaughter, Shai Royce both actually worked with me, and my grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen have all spent time with me when they couldn’t go to school for whatever reason, including not feeling well. They have slept under my desk, because they wanted to be by Grandma at that time, and my boss, Jim Stengel, being the wonderful man that he was, made allowances for my needs. My co-worker, Carrie Beauchamp brought her daughter, Amanda Ingram to the office, and now she is also an agent in that office, so while we didn’t have a formal program, our children and grandchildren not only spent time in the office, but actually went to work with us in the office. I hope companies continue this program, because I think it is a great program.

My husband’s grandmother, Vina Hein was an amazing cook. The food she made wasn’t fancy, and in fact I suppose it was what would be called “comfort food” these days. Grandma learned to cook as a girl taking care of her dad and brother after her mother left them when she was about ten years old. She loved her dad and brother, and for a while, it was just the three of them. Then her dad remarried, and things changed again. Grandma didn’t talk about that time much, but she endured and grew to be the wonderful woman that we all knew.

There wasn’t much that Grandma couldn’t handle, and when she married Walt Hein, she became a rancher’s wife. They had a big spread out in the country, and she cooked, canned, helped with the animals, gardened, and kept the house. It was work she had trained for since she was a child. She was destined to be the family matriarch, and she was good at her job. Over the years she helped out with grandchildren when their parents worked, and the kids absolutely loved to be at Grandma’s house. Even the grandchildren who lived far away loved to come to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

My husband, Bob Schulenberg went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa just about every year. He helped out around the ranch, and in general, got to have a great time on his “almost like summer camp” visits. And when he was grown, he still liked to go visit his grandparents. When we got married, he wanted to pass that tradition on to his girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, and to me. We loved going for visits, and that is something I miss to this day. Grandma didn’t always like to play cards, like Grandpa did, but she would do it for us. You had to have partners, after all. Grandpa would have played for hours, but Grandma had other things to do, so after a couple of hours, Grandpa would head out to the barn to take a nap, while Grandma and our family did other things around the house. He didn’t want to interfere with the dinner preparations, after all. Grandma always had wonderful things, like real cream, thick and cold, a taste I have never found in a store. Strawberry Rhubarb pie and jelly too. Wonderful home raised beef, and farm fresh eggs. And of course, her canned vegetables and garden-fresh vegetables too. It would have been worth the drive just for Grandma’s good cooking, for sure, and I would sure love to have one of her meals again right now. Today is the 113th anniversary of Grandma Hein’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma. We love and miss you very much. And it looks like Punxsutawney Phil says six more weeks of Winter, but I guess that no longer matters to you, like it did when you were a kid.

Every year…like clockwork, parents dress their children up in costumes, and the annual tradition of children roaming the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and asking for treats…with the threat of tricks, if the “blackmail” is not paid…begins. It’s Halloween, of course. These days, not as many children really understand how the whole thing is supposed to work. They just see it as a day to gather up as much candy as possible. I read somewhere that children consume, on average, 7,000 calories worth of candy…or the equivalent of almost 11 Burger King Whoppers, without cheese, and not the new meatless version, of course. It’s a good thing that most kids are very active, or that many calories could be bad. And that isn’t even considering the sugar high that the parents will have to deal with. Try putting that child to bed after all that, and you’ll find that it’s going to be a long night. The best you can hope for is that the day falls on a Friday, so they don’t have to get up for school the next day…not the case this year, unfortunately.

So, with all the negative aside, the costumes people come up with are usually very cute. I prefer the costumes that don’t focus on the gruesome and horrific, but there are always a few of those. This year, with all my grandchildren grown up, we will only have our little great granddaughter heading out to see what she can come home with. At just 17 months, she will most likely only be going a few places, and since she is so little, she isn’t as totally addicted to candy as she will most likely become in future years. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen her turn down a treat either.

I remember Halloweens past, when my grandchildren were little. They couldn’t wait to get out there, and they really preferred if their parents didn’t stand around and talk. After all, they had rounds to make, and it wasn’t getting any earlier. My grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, always had the cutest costumes. I suppose I might be a bit biased, but I don’t care. I’m sure every parent and every grandparent feels the same way about their own little ones. It’s our prerogative!! Our little ones never had any tricks up their sleeves, that I knew of, but I do recall the year when I, as a little kid, was handed a little bar of soap, by my mother, Collene Spencer. It was my “trick” and I was only asked by one person, what trick I had up my sleeve. When I showed him the soap, he let out a great big guffaw!! He had no idea that I would even know what he meant. He said that it made his whole day!! Happy Halloween everyone!! Be safe out there!!

A few years back, I connected with a member of my Schumacher cousins, Tracey Schumacher Inglimo, in what would become a quest to get to know all of my Schumacher cousins, and like my Byer cousins, there were lots of them. The journey has been a wonderful trip, as my sisters and I have cultivated friendships with these precious cousins, some of whom we met on our 2014 trip back to our roots in Superior, Wisconsin. Now, four years later, my sister, Cheryl Masterson; her daughter, Liz Masterson; and I have returned to Superior, Wisconsin for a family reunion. We have been so excited for this reunion to happen, and in fact, have looked forward to reuniting with all of our cousins since we first met or found each other on Ancestry and Facebook.

The reunion took place today at Pattison Park, and it definitely lived up to every hope we had for it. These precious cousins were friendly, hospitable, and informative, while also being curious about us too. We all shared tons of stories about our families, and of course, pictures of our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. We hugged on the little ones, most of whom looked at us with a sense of wonder as to who we were, and maybe even wondering if we should be hugging them at all…at least until their parents said it was ok. We moved from group to group, and person to person trying to get to know everyone, all the while knowing that there just wasn’t enough time. We found out who the jokesters were too, because what family would be complete without those wonderful people who keep us laughing. We built bonds that will last a lifetime, and parted ways with expressions of sadness that the time had passed far to quickly. We tried to see how soon we could feasibly do this again, knowing that for most of us Facebook would have to suffice until the next reunion.

The time went by far too quickly indeed, and while we wish we could have had far more time to sit and talk, we all knew in our hearts that we had been given a precious gift…a gift of family, friendship, love, and a sense of belonging, because after all, that is what family reunions are all about. Families grow quickly, and the numbers can quickly grow to a point of losing sight of the ones who started the family in the beginning, but at reunions, those who have left us are remembered and discussed, because everyone is trying to put into context, just exactly where they fit in with all these people. We talked of those who weren’t with us with love and sadness, because they would have really loved that their families have made the effort to keep the closeness going. To all those who made this reunion so very special, we love you and thank you for making our family reunion amazing.

If you want to know about a person, talk to those who know that person best…their family. Of course, I know my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock, but nobody knows him as well as his wife and kids. I wanted to know what kind of dad Chris is, because that delves into a whole different dimension of the person he is. I asked his kids to tell me the one thing they loved most about their dad. The first thing I found out, was that these kids couldn’t give me just one thing. In fact, they had a hard time keeping it at just two or three things.

Jessi Sawdon is Chris and my sister, Allyn’s first child. Told me of how helpful her dad is. No matter what he has going, or how full his day is, he always finds time, somewhere in the day to come and help with whatever his kids needed. Their needs are always his priority. She also told me that when it comes to his grandbabies…Chris has the softest heart, and that those grandbabies think their grandpa hung the moon. On one hand, it’s hard for me to fathom Chris as softhearted, because of all the years he spent as a cop, and yet I think that most people who know Chris have seen that softhearted side at one time or another. Nevertheless, when it comes to grandbabies, every grandparent develops a soft heart where their grandbabies are concerned.

Ryan Hadlock, Chris and Allyn’s son, and second child, remembers going fishing with his dad. He remembers the lessons his dad gave him so that he could become a good fisherman, and he remembers…like it was just yesterday…that while his dad was teaching him to fly fish, that his dad caught 75 fish in one day!! Those father/son times were and always will be very special to Ryan. I know they were very special to his dad too. Ryan also told me that he loves to see the joy his dad gets…just from being with all of his kids and grandkids. There is nothing quite like knowing that your parents love you, your siblings, and your kids more than anything in the world.

Lindsay Moore, Chris and Allyn’s third child immediately said, “Oh man! One thing!?!?!? How is that possible?” That was the sentiment I got from all the kids. Lindsay told me about how tenderhearted her dad is. Lindsay’s favorite part of her dad is a side of him that not everyone gets to see. It is a side of Chris that is reserved for Allyn, their kids and the grandkids. It has been an enlightening thing to have all of these kids tell me, not about the strength everyone else saw in Chris for so many years on the police force, but about the very different man that came home from work each night to simply love on his family. Lindsay also told me about the way that Chris brought fun and laughter to their lives with his incredible witty and sense of humor.

Kellie Hadlock is Chris and Allyn’s youngest child. She was the first one to mention work ethic, saying that Chris is the hardest worker she knows and that he does everything with integrity…always doing the right thing! Kellie’s sweetest thought of her dad is that he is the best guitar player she know. One of her favorite things to do in the world, is to sing with her dad. Kellie loves singing, and when the two of them get together, it is truly beautiful. We all love hearing it, and can’t wait for the next time. Kellie says, “He is literally the best dad in the world!! Sorry there was no way I could have said just one thing!” Today is Chris’ birthday!! Thanks to all of his kids for their special tribute to their dad. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

On Saint Patrick’s Day, my cousin Michael McDaniels and his wife, Deena took his mom, my Aunt Bonnie McDaniels to a celebration in downtown Casper, Wyoming, as part of her birthday celebration. That reminded me about the many times that my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I would run into Aunt Bonnie and her husband, my Uncle Jack at the fair with their grandchildren. They took them every year and the kids had a great time. We would run into them, because we still went to the fair at that time. I always thought it was great that they took their grandkids every year, because lots of kids don’t get to go. Either their parents couldn’t afford it, or just figured the kids could wait until they were old enough to go on their own. Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack’s grandkids didn’t have to worry about that, because they got to go every year.

Aunt Bonnie also loved attending the various events of her grandchildren, and I’m sure she was that way with her kids too. I usually saw her at the track meets at Grant School, where both of our grandchildren went to elementary school. Of course, Uncle Jack had to work in those days, so he didn’t get the pleasure of coming to the track meets. Aunt Bonnie was always so excited about the events, and spent the day cheering her grandson, Anthony McDaniels on to, hopefully, victory. For Aunt Bonnie, her family was everything. She wanted nothing more than to spend time surrounded by them. They were the product of the great love she had for Uncle Jack, and in them, her life was complete.

Aunt Bonnie has blessed many people in her lifetime. Her cakes have graced many a wedding, but it was her smile and her cheerful way that were the real blessing. Every time Bob and I ran into her, oddly most often while grocery shopping at Walmart, she and Uncle Jack were always pleased to run into us, and we always had a nice conversation…even if it was a short conversation. We just always enjoyed running into them. Things are different for Aunt Bonnie now that Uncle Jack has gone to Heaven, but it pleases me to see her kids taking her out to do the fun stuff. It’s almost like going full circle. What she and Uncle Jack did for their kids, they are now doing for her. And what a special treat it must be for her. She got to go to something she wouldn’t have done on her own. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook leads a pretty busy life. During the school year, she is the “bus driver” for her two youngest grandchildren, Easton Moore and Kaytlyn Griffith after school. The older kids, Weston Moore and Jala Satterwhite have activities that go on after school, so Debbie has just the little ones. Debbie likes to do special things for the grandkids, such as the brownies she made as a treat for Valentine’s Day. Of course, when its nice outside, there is a lot more that can be done, like going to the park, where they can run and play, which is probably to their parents liking too, because then they are more settled at night…or is does that only work on the little ones?

Winter is a dreaded time for lots of people, an most especially for anyone who like to got camping. Debbie and her husband, Lynn love to go camping, and I think that they would move to the mountains if it weren’t for the fact that the kids and grandkids live in town. So the next best thing is family camping trip to the Big Horn Mountains. Their daughter Machelle, told me that going camping with the family every weekend is so peaceful and quiet and that they al really enjoy it. Machelle says it is like having a sleepover every weekend. Now when you think about it, which of us wouldn’t love to go home sometimes to relive the days of our youth…especially the ones when you and your siblings had a sleepover on the living room floor. That’s kind of how it feels to the family when they are all camping together in the beauty of the mountains.

Her family is the most important thing to Debbie. She loves being around the grandchildren, and especially having them all want to go camping together. It’s like taking weekly vacations together all your life. Most people quit taking together vacations when they get married, so it’s something special. I suppose that with the next generation coming of age, things are likely to change. When the grandkids are driving and working, they can’t always go along on the fun stuff, and they are old enough to stay alone, so things slowly change. Hopefully it doesn’t change too fast. Today is Debbie’s birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

I love looking at the pictures my family posts…especially the kids. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s true, but sometimes it’s the caption that really grabs me. Such was the case the other day when I looked at this picture posted by my cousin, Grace Oltman. The picture shows the smiling faces of her son, Hosea and her sister, Angel Pallas’ daughter, Hazel. These kids never cease to amaze me, because they are just being kids, after all. Grace captioned the picture with, “They will do anything for some candy.” That immediately took me back to the years when my grandchildren were little ones, and we tried so hard, sometimes in vain to get a good picture of the four of them.

As the grandma, it was my idea to do the four of them, and sometimes I think my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, thought I was crazy. In fact, sometimes I thought I was crazy. We tried everything to get them to all four smile at the same time…and I mean we tried everything, including candy, if they cooperated. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Now, looking at the pictures Grace took…which turned out amazing, by the way, I see what my problem was. She gave them the candy while they had the picture taken. What kid wouldn’t smile with a piece of chocolate in their hand? Oh, if I had only known. Of course, these little kids, Hazel, Hosea, Tenley, and Canaan, as well as cousins, Addilayde and Meadow, are definitely not strangers to the camera. Their parents take lots of pictures of them, and these kids know how to smile for the camera. I think that is why I enjoy looking at all their pictures so much. There is just nothing sweeter than looking at a smiling child…even if it is a candy smile, and even if the candy, cake, or whatever else they may enjoy having, is all over their face.

Every once in a while, however, even mom’s who take great pictures because the kids are so cooperative, will hit a bit of a snag. Such was the case when Grace took the picture of little Hosea and his little brother Canaan. Hosea was wearing his usual great smile, but Canaan needed a little help. Uh…Grace, I think you forgot the chocolate on this one, but then I guess Canaan was a teeny bit to small for that. Nevertheless, those sad face pictures can be just as cute as the ones that are all smiles. In the end, I had to promise to let my grandkids, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, do one goofy picture in order to get good smiles out of them. I guess that the moral of the story is…whatever works.

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