My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Butch Hein served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. In all the years I have known him, and like most other veterans, Butch never talked about his time during that war. I don’t know where he spent his service years, but the main thing is that he made it home. Once home, Butch began to live the rest of his life.

He married the love of his life, Bonnie Wertz, and together they began planning their future lives. Bonnie soon became pregnant with their first child, and on November 5, 1969, their son, Scott was born. Life was perfect…for a time, but unfortunately it would not stay that way for long. While pregnant with their daughter, Crista, Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer. Like most mom’s she tried to wait it out, so she could give their daughter life, but in the end, both were lost. Butch’s heart was broken, and while he tried to move on with his life, and succeeded with his son, he really was never happy in a relationship again. Bonnie was his forever love. Nevertheless, Butch is very happy with his son. They are best friends and business partners in the ranching business they own together.

Scott grew up and married Terri Wiederrick. They now have three grown children, Laura, Carson, and Lindsey. Butch’s life has made a wonderful turnaround. Having these three grandchildren has been the highlight of his life. Scott built his house on the same property as his dad, so for much of the kids’ lives, they were right beside their grandpa. It was one of the greatest gifts Scott and Terri could have given his dad. Butch has been able to be a big part of his grandchildren’s lives, and they all love him very much.

Now that they are grown, the grandchildren are moving on with their lives. Laura is a teacher and lives a few hours away, Carson is working on a ranch in the area, and Lindsey is away at college. I think the empty nest syndrome might apply not only to their parents, but to their grandpa as well. That happens when the grandparents are very close. It happened to me when my own grandchildren became adults, and while we are still close, it is more from a distance these days. I have a feeling Butch is finding himself in the same place. Happy, but a little sad too. Today is Butch’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday Butch. Have a great day!! We love you!!

Visiting GrandparentsWhen a young wife moves half way across the country from her childhood home, she can get to a point where she really misses her family, especially her parents. That was the case for my mom when she married my dad and they moved from Casper, Wyoming to Superior, Wisconsin. While mom was happy in her new life and ecstatically happy with her new husband, she was nevertheless, a daughter far away from her parents. Soon after their marriage, mom became pregnant with my sister, Cheryl. Being a young wife and soon-to-be mother, and being far away from your mom can be very hard, and even a little scary, because as a woman is about to give birth, having her mother nearby is not a bad thing.

Grandma and Grandpa made several trips to Wisconsin in the five years my family lived there, and we were always very happy to see them and very sorry to see them go. The loneliness that always followed their home going was really tough, especially on my mom. Visit to SuperiorOf course, like most families, daily life soon fell into place, and she got too busy to dwell on that loneliness too much. With two little girls to take care of she was pretty busy. Still, I’m sure that her family and especially her parents were never far from her thoughts though, because that is only natural.

The trips that Grandma and Grandpa made to visit were wonderful though. Mom and Dad showed them all the sights in the area. Superior, and the whole Lake Superior area is quite beautiful, and I don’t know if my grandparents had been there before my mom and dad move back there, so it was quite likely a very special treat to take those great drives, and be able to just relax and enjoy the view. When you have someone to show you the sights, you don’t have to worry about getting lost, traffic, or anything like that. You can just look, and that was what Grandma and Grandpa got to do. Knowing them like I did, I know that those touring drives were treasured times for them. They always liked the outdoors, and to see that whole region, which is quite different from Wyoming Grandparent Visitwas probably a thrill, for sure.

After five years, my family would move back to Casper, Wyoming, where most of us would spend the rest of, or at least the majority of the rest of our lives. My mom was happy to be back here…near her siblings and her parents. She had missed them very much. Their house had always had a bustle of activity in it, and she missed that a lot. Still, now she also missed the family in Wisconsin and the beauty of the area. There is never really any way to have it all, I guess, so you just have to make due where you find yourself, and deal with the feelings of missing the things you left behind you.

Ashley Coral EighmyOne year ago today…on her birthday, my niece, Ashley found herself in labor with her first child. While her daughter, Reagan would not arrive until the next day, it would still be a day that would herald a change in her life. That birthday…her 22nd…would be the last day before she became a mother. The last day before her precious little girl would come in and change everything. It is hard to imagine what it is going to be like to be someone’s mother…until it happens to you. We all think we have an idea, but we don’t…not until that little teeny life comes and wraps it’s tiny little fingers around your heart, and you find yourself totally smitten. You can’t imagine the love you feel until you feel it for yourself.

For some time, even before she and my nephew, Eric got engaged, Ashley wanted nothing more than to be his wife, and later, the mother of his children. They became pregnant just 6 months after their marriage, and the excitement of their growing family filled all of us with joy. It had been a number of years since we had a new baby in the family, and it would be Jennifer’s first grandchild. It was an exciting time. I had hoped that Ashley would have the baby on her birthday, and I thought maybe I had picked it. Reagan wasn’t quite ready…but she was just a dream away. So, Ashley’s birthday remained her own, and the birth of her daughter would have to wait for the Just A Dream Awaynext day. For one more day, Ashley would be a young wife, but not yet a mother.

Much has changed over this past year. Reagan is almost one…but that is tomorrow’s story. Ashley has been a wonderful mom, and has had a wonderful first year of motherhood. She and Eric and her parents have been remodeling the house that they bought to start their little family in. They are working hard to finish it, while enjoying their time with Reagan and with the horses her parents keep on their land next door. The year has been a busy one, and also one filled with dreams and their becoming reality. Ashley calls it building the dream, and so it is, but this day belongs to her. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The newest member of our family has finally arrived. My nephew Eric, and his wife, Ashley gave birth to Reagan Kaylynn Parmely today, October 24, 2012, at 9:49 am. She weighed 7 pounds 10.5 ounces, and she was 21 inches long. She has dark brown hair that is about an inch long. She tried really hard to arrive on her mommy’s birthday, yesterday, but that was not to be. She missed it by a few hours. That is a fact that I’m sure her parents will forgive her for. They are just thrilled that she is here now.

When Eric and Ashley started planning a family, Eric told her that he wanted daughters. You see, his was a family of three brothers, of which Eric was the youngest. His family had always hoped for a girl, but it was not to be. Eric had always hoped things would be different for him, and so when Ashley became pregnant, they waited anxiously to see if the baby would be a boy or a girl. Finally the day of the ultrasound arrived, and it was discovered that Eric would get his wish. Their child would be a girl. Eric was floating on air.

Ashley said she wanted a boy first, but like most mothers, that doesn’t matter once that precious little one is snuggling up in her arms. Little miss Reagan Kaylynn will fill her heart with so much joy that she will wonder why she ever wanted a boy first, and when the next baby comes along, Reagan will be the best little mommy’s helper ever. Little girls are like that…mommies from the start.

As the years go forward, Ashley will have someone to go do all the girlie things that Eric won’t be very interested in doing. Yes, in the teenage years, they will disagree over probably everything, and Reagan will most likely be a drama queen at times, but those years will quickly pass, because children grow up in just a minute, when you consider how quickly time passes. Before they know it, she will be dating, driving, graduating, marrying, and having babies of her own. Does that seem like an exaggeration, take it from someone whose daughters did just that, just a few weeks ago, or was it really 37 years ago since my first daughter was born. Enjoy this wonderful time Eric and Ashley. It goes by so fast, but watching little miss Reagan Kaylynn grow up will be the most wonderful experience of your life! We are all so happy for you!!

Few times in a woman’s life can compare to becoming a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, or great great grandmother. Holding that little baby in your arms is so special. And when you become a grandmother twice in 2 days…well, that is amazing. While waiting for the grandbabies to arrive, you have a profound sense of expectation, and yet still empty arms, because your little one hasn’t arrived yet…you just know the baby is coming. And the excitement is almost overwhelming.

That is just how I felt when both of my girls were pregnant at the same time. The were due about 2 weeks apart, but that was not to be. We were going to be blessed with grandbabies that were 1 day apart. The idea of having 2 grandchildren in 2 days…and they weren’t even twins. My arms like my heart were filled with so much joy that I felt like I was floating on air. I wanted to hold both of them constantly. It was an amazing feeling.

I think that can be a universal feeling, because when we took the babies up to Montana to visit Bob’s grandmother, the look on her face reminded me of exactly how I felt when holding my 2 grandchildren. They weren’t her first great great grandchildren, but it didn’t matter of course, because they were still her little babies, and there were two of them at the same time.

That is really how all babies make their grandmothers feel, no matter what level of grandmother you are. Babies are just the greatest blessing there is. That new little life, so sweet and cuddly…full of giggles and smiles, making the goofiest faces. And if you have ever been a mother or grandmother, you will know that there are no babies that are a sweet, as cute, or as wonderful as the ones that belong to you, no matter how many you have at one time.

Since Christopher and Shai’s arrivals, we have been blessed with 2 more grandsons, Caalab and Joshua, and while they didn’t arrive a day apart, they are as wonderful as our older grandchildren. I love being a grandmother as much as I loved being a mother. Life is good, and I’m still floating on air.

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