By guest writer: Susan Griffith
I thought it would be nice to write a blog post about my Aunt Caryn for her birthday. In case you’re new here, my Aunt Caryn writes a blog post every single day about someone in her family, or about something that sparks her interest. I wonder if she has ever missed a day since she started. If she has, I’m sure there was an extremely good reason why. There must be thousands and thousands of posts. It’s truly amazing and really shows her passion for writing, her passion for her faith, her family, and her interest in current events. The determination that she has when she sets her mind to something is obvious.
If you’re reading this, and interested in history at all and what Aunt Caryn is up to, I urge you to look on Ansestry.com at the amount of work she has put into her family trees. It’s unbelievable and amazing to me. I can’t even begin to imagine how big Aunt Caryn’s family must be on both sides of her family. Both her and my Uncle Bob come from a family with many siblings, so I can see how her family could be so big after everyone getting married and having families of their own. It’s so special to look on your Facebook page on your birthday and see that someone has taken the time to write a little story about you. Most of the time, it’s surprising to read what she comes up with and you sometimes wonder how she knows what she knows. I know she has her ways of finding things out. I’m so thankful to have someone in my family who cares so much about family that she will take the time to make someone feel good every day.
My Aunt Caryn is married to my Uncle Bob, who’s my mom, Debbie Cook’s brother. Every time I think back to the family gatherings with my mom’s side of the family Aunt Caryn has always been there. She shows up to every important event if she is able to. She was there for all the important milestones of my life…graduation, wedding, baby showers. It’s clear that she loves her family very much, and from what I’ve seen she will do whatever it takes to be involved with her family. If someone is in need and Aunt Caryn can see that she can help with the situation, I guarantee that she will show up and she will do whatever she can to help in the situation. At my wedding reception, I forgot to ask someone to serve cake. Aunt Caryn just stepped in and started doing it without even being asked. I still remember that even after almost 15 years of marriage. I was so thankful to have her that day. It seems like this day in age, people like that are harder and harder to come by. The kind of people who are willing to drop everything that’s going on in their life to help someone else out. You could say Aunt Caryn is altruistic in the best way. I feel truly fortunate to have Aunt Caryn in my life.
A perfect example of Aunt Caryn’s selflessness happened just earlier this year. In January when my Aunt Rachel passed away, Aunt Caryn’s sister-in-law, we really saw how Aunt Caryn could truly step up to the plate. She helped my Uncle Ron considerably to get through one of the hardest times in his life. All of us are so thankful for what she did to help during that time. We know it was hard for her because she was just as upset as everyone else. In our family it seems that if we lose someone, we really come together to comfort each other and help each other out. I am so thankful for that.
One of my earliest memories of my Aunt Caryn was when they lived in the country in a trailer house. It seems like it was just me and Aunt Caryn at the house, everyone else was gone. I had to have been around 4 or 5 years old. Aunt Caryn was doing something in the living room, or the kitchen and she said I could go to my Cousin Amy’s bedroom to play. Amy is a few years older than me, so she had things that big girls had, and stuff that I thought was really cool. It seems like there was a little desk in Amy’s bedroom, and on the desk was a little heart shaped container that may have had jewelry in it. Next to that was some fingernail polish. I can’t even imagine what the heck I was thinking, but I sat there and painted the top of the little heart shaped container with the nail polish. It seems like shortly after I started doing that, Aunt Caryn came in and saw what I was doing. Oh man, was I in trouble. I’m sure I started crying as soon as she saw me. I can remember turning and looking at her and the look on her face wasn’t good. It was a look of shock. I think she just told me to go sit in the living room, and maybe told me I couldn’t be in Amy’s room by myself anymore. I think she was pretty lenient on me. Hopefully, that’s all I did with that fingernail polish. Sorry Amy!
Today is Aunt Caryn’s 65th birthday, which to many of us is a special day because we get to have the chance to spoil her like she spoils everyone around her on their special day. Aunt Caryn, I hope you have a most beautiful birthday. I hope that you get spoiled by all your family and friends, and that you can feel the love by all of us who love you so much. I hope you are able to enjoy your day and do something that makes you feel good. On behalf of all of your family, friends, and followers…We love you Caryn Schulenberg! Happy Birthday!
Katie Balcerzak became my grand-niece, when she married my grand-nephew, Keifer Balcerzak. Katie might say of herself that she is a tom-boy type, but I think there is a girlie side to her too…especially since she and Keifer added little Reece, affectionally known as Reece’s Pieces, to their family, on December 14, 2017. Katie loves to dress their daughter in frilly little outfits, which compliment her bubbly personality and delightful smile just perfectly. Katie and Reece have so much fun hanging out together. Katie is always teaching Reece new skills, and loves sharing the great laughs that come with baby antics and learning stumbles.
While Katie might not be a total girlie girl type, there are things whereby she definitely is. Things like having her nails done is a cool way to show off her feminine side, is one that I can relate to, since I love nail polish and nail art very much myself. I’m sure that eventually Reece will want her nails done too, because, well…like mother, like daughter, right!! I think that Reece and her mom are a lot alike. That’s why they have so much fun together. Of course, it would be hard not to smile when Reece smiles, because she is a happy baby who smiled with her whole face.
Katie loves being a mom, and has dreamed of nothing else for years. She is a good mom, who takes good care of her daughter and she’s a good wife to Keifer. They are very happy together, and they work very well together to reach their common goals. For Katie and Keifer, their family is everything. They work hard to give their family a strong bond with each other. Katie love being a mom more that any other job she has ever had, and definitely the most fulfilling career she could ever have. Raising a little life, molding it into a wonderful little person, and watching the smiles and the look of love their daughter wears on her face. Today is Katie’s birthday. Happy birthday Katie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandfather, George Byer was a very gentle, soft hearted man. He could not bear to hurt anyone, nor could he stand to see anyone go without. Grandpa would give a man the shirt off of his back if they needed it. And while I don’t recall that he ever had to actually give the shirt off his back, he gave many people a good meal at his table. My grandmother, Hattie Byer was a great cook, and she always found a way to stretch the meal a little further, so they could feed the many less fortunate people who found their way to the Byer table from time to time.
Grandpa was such a family man. He could allow his daughters to play beauty shop, complete with nail polish on his nails, and yet no man would think him a wimp. They just knew that he loved his family. As to his hair though, I have a feeling that those of us in the family who love having their hair played with or brushed, and you know who you are, probably got that from grandpa, because he could sit there for hours and let the girls brush his hair. I know exactly how he felt, because for me, there is nothing more relaxing…especially after a hard day at work. Funny thing about people who enjoy having their hair brushed…they don’t enjoy brushing someone else’s hair so much. And believe me, if you like having your hair brushed, it’s really hard to find someone to brush it for you, a fact that is really sad.
Grandpa was always such a sweet man, as I said, and for his grandchildren, it was so much fun to go over to their house. I don’t remember ever having Grandpa say a harsh word to me. I think he was just too soft hearted. I suppose that is why Grandma always had to do any discipline that was needed concerning the grandchildren. Nevertheless, I don’t think Grandpa could stomach it. I have to wonder if he ever spanked his own kids. I know my grandmother did, and I think that like my husband, Bob, Grandpa just couldn’t bring himself to spank a child much. That is just the way my grandfather was…just like a big teddy bear. Today would have been Grandpa Byer’s 122st birthday. Of course, he has been gone for some time now, but I can still here his voice saying, “Come on in, Kid!” Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa. We love you, and miss you very much.
My grand niece, Aurora…nicknamed Rory, is the daughter of my nephew, Ryan Hadlock and his wife, Chelsea. Rory is a sweetie pie of a girl, who loves making faces with her aunts, and playing with her older brother, Ethan. But when it comes to Rory’s uncles, she is the princess. Those girls have a way of wrapping their uncles around their baby fingers. Of course, the uncles have a great time with Rory’s brother, Ethan too, but Rory is the princess, and that is all there is to it. In reality, uncles just don’t stand a chance against the charms of their little nieces. Rory just gives them one of her sweet little smiles, and they melt. Then, she gets picked up, swung around, rides of all sorts…like piggy back and airplane. Yep, Rory’s uncles think she’s the cream of the crop. And she thinks the same of them. Of course, it isn’t just her uncles who think Rory is pretty special. Her great aunts and uncles fit in that category too.
Rory is good friends with her cousin, Aleesia too. They love to play together and get along famously. They especially love to dance the night away. And our little Aurora can sing with the best of them. She loves music, and just can’t help but sing along. Rory loves spending girl time with her aunts and her mom. Since she is the only little girl in her family right now, she is the focus of all the girly fun things…nail polish, pony tails, and girly clothes. Rory is her own girl, and I know she will develop her own style, but she will have been well trained in what looks good by her mom and her aunts. Nevertheless, it seems to be her uncles who Rory likes to play with the most.
Rory is a little bit shy with people she doesn’t know very well, but once she knows you, she is more at ease and you never know what she might decide to do. Like most kids, she is pretty inventive with her play. She might be camping out with her brother or doing the baking with her mom. It just depends on her mood at any given time. Rory has a lot of years ahead of her, and I know she will have a lot of changes in her life. I hope she will always keep her sweet sense of humor, because it will take her far. I just think we are all very blessed to have little Rory in our lives. Today is Rory’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Rory!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Today is my grandfather’s birthday…he would have been 118 years old. My grandpa was a gentle man who loved children. My mom tells me of the many times when Grandpa would patiently sit while the girls, his daughters, would comb his hair and paint his nails. Then he would go to work with those same painted nails, rather than hurt his little girls feelings. If anyone dared to tease him about that, he never told his family about it. I think it takes a special man to be so comfortable in his own skin that he can share those special moments with his kids, and not be embarrassed about it. That was the kind of man he was. Nothing was more important than family. He was totally gone on Grandma, and loved his kids and later grandkids more than anything.
I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house when I was young. When we would walk in the door, Grandpa would always say, “Come on in, kid.” He always said it in such an endearing way, and you just knew you were loved. Grandpa was just so sweet. But, he also had quite a sense of humor.
I remember Grandpa calling the house. He would always try to disguise his voice to sound like he was a very old man. Then he would ask to speak to Mrs McGillycuddy. It wasn’t until we were a little older that we stopped being fooled, then we would laugh and say, “Grandpa, is that you.” He loved making us laugh.
As occasionally happens with every kidder, at some point, the joke ends up being on them. That day came for my grandpa one day when he stopped by our house. My mom was on the phone, and the front door was open, so she told him through the screen to come in. She went on with her conversation for a minute, then noticed that Grandpa was still standing outside. She again told him to come on in and went on with the conversation. She looked up a third time, wondering why he wouldn’t come in. It was then that she saw our German Shepherd dog, King, guarding the doorway. She said, “King, you let him in!” As King moved away from the door, she said it was the only time she ever saw a dog laugh. King knew who my grandpa was, and he would never have hurt him. He just saw the chance to kid a kidder, and he took it.