My niece, Lacey Stevens is a super successful cosmetologist. She is probably the youngest store manager for Ulta Beauty, as well as their top seller and earns a good amount of money in commissions. If you want an appointment with Lacey, you had better plan ahead. Lacey is booked out a month or more for hair and makeup. Lacey is a role model for all of the employees in the salon and store, and they come to her for advice on what products to use for which hair problem or facial problem or for make up tips. Of course, one look at her and you can see why. Lacey is an expert a both hair and makeup. She always looks stunning…model quality. She always looks the part of a beautiful woman that people want to copy. She is the epitome of success and beauty.
Lacey has been in a relationship with Chris Killinger for about a year and a half now, and he brought with him the blessing of his two children, Brooklyn and Jaxon. The kids have been a great addition to the family, and Lacey’s niece, Elliott loves them very much, as does the rest of the family. Brooklyn loves to sit at Lacey’s vanity table and watch her do her makeup. She find that process intriguing. Lacey is so good with her, and sometimes she puts a little makeup on Brooklyn. Every little girl needs that, I say, and what better person to help Brooklyn with a little dress-up, than Lacey. She has been a blessing to Chris and to his kids, just as they have been to her.
Lacey’s family loves to spend time at the lake in the summer. Pathfinder Reservoir is their favorite place to go. She and Chris took the kids there for the annual summer gathering, and everyone had an absolute blast. Children always add a special touch to any family gathering. Brooklyn and Jaxon are no exception. Life’s journey always has its twists and turns, but the turn that let Lacey to meet Chris is considered a wonderful one. Lacey is so happy, and that, in my book, makes Chris a great guy. We will see where the future leads them, but for now, they are just enjoying the time together. It is the same in much of Lacey’s life. Things are going so well, and Lacey is very happy and content….just enjoying the ride. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Every child deserves to have two good parents. I know, in a perfect world, every child will get that set of good parents, but unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. When my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg met his future wife, Rachel Franklin, she had a grown daughter and two sons, the youngest, Tucker was not yet 3 years old. Ron never had any children of his own. Unfortunately, Tucker’s dad was never able to really be a dad to him. He had his own issues and therefore, never really had time for Tucker.
Ron and Rachel were married on June 12, 2010, and while Rachel’s daughter, Cassie was married a week before Ron and Rachel, the two boys, Riley and Tucker would be living with Ron and Rachel. Riley had a relationship, such as it was, with his dad, and that continued to a degree. Still, Tucker did not have that. His dad couldn’t or wouldn’t really be there for him. Enter Tucker’s step-dad, Ron. Tucker and Ron did everything together. Ron was the role model Tucker needed, and the dad he had always wanted. They were inseparable, and before long a realization began to take shape in Tucker’s mind. Ron was his dad!! He didn’t want Ron to be just his step-dad. He wanted him to be his real dad!! So, Tucker asked if that could happen…if Ron would adopt him. Ron was so pleased, because that was what he wanted too.
There were road blocks to overcome, because Tucker’s dad was still around…somewhere. There was also the roadblock of getting him to terminate his rights legally, because he had already terminated his relationship in every way, but legally. We prayed for this to be taken care of, knowing that the only way it would be done was with God’s help. It all came together one day, when Rachel found out that her ex-husband was in Casper, and really needed a way to get back home. She headed down to the mission, but saw him waiting for a bus. She stopped and asked him to sign the papers. She would then buy him a ticket out of town, and he would be free of the child support that he wasn’t paying anyway. He took the deal, and they went straight to the court house. Ron signed paperwork stating that he wanted to adopt Tucker, and Tucker’s dad signed paperwork terminating his rights. Rachel signed paperwork agreeing to the transfer of parental rights from her ex-husband to Ron. Even Tucker got to sign paperwork stating his desire to be Ron’s son. That was the beginning of a wonderful journey. Today, after a court hearing, that journey has come to an end, and a new journey begins. Today, Tucker is Ron’s legal son. Today Tucker is no longer the old Tucker, his legal name is Tucker William Schulenberg!! It’s a dream come true for him and his parents, Ron and Rachel Schulenberg. Tucker is right where he belongs. Tucker is Ron’s first child, and it’s a boy!! Congratulations to all three of you. Tucker, you are now a Schulenberg, and we are all very happy!!
Like all good things…our Anniversary Weekend has come to an end. That’s that bad thing about long weekends, holidays, and vacations…they end way too soon. It doesn’t matter how much you like your job, we all hate to see the weekend come to an end. It’s no different for me, and I find myself a little sad that the annual trip Bob and I take to Thermopolis to celebrate our anniversary is over. When we go to Thermopolis, we don’t go to the pools in town, but rather just enjoy the hot tub at the motel. We don’t go there to be around a lot of people, but rather just to be with each other.
This year’s trip was extra nice, because the temperatures were in the sixties. The early Spring was evident everywhere. The geese don’t really leave…at least I don’t think they do…because with all the warm water, staying warm is easy. Nevertheless, the birds were all everywhere, twittering and being all lovey…sure signs of impending Spring. The fishermen were out in force, and enjoying the warm weather to get back out there and enjoy a favorite sport.
Since we don’t fish, Bob and I were able to get out and do our favorite sport too. There is such a lovely river trail at the edge of the motel property, and it runs all the way up to the hot springs and pools, making for the perfect walk. For us though, this was the celebration of 41 years of marriage, and that makes it an amazing trip for us. It’s our time to disconnect from everyday life, and just enjoy each other’s company…almost like a second honeymoon that you take year after year.
Sadly, this weekend trip like all other good things must come to an end, but as we head home, it is with a renewed relationship. That’s one of the beautiful things about these mini honeymoons, we come home more in love than when we left, if that is even possible. Bob has been such a blessing in my life, and of all the good things that have to come to an end, I’m thankful that we have not, because he is the love of my life, my soulmate, and my one and only. I had a wonderful weekend, Honey. I love you!!
Not every great grandmother is so blessed to have a really close relationship with their great grandchildren, and it is even more rare with the youngest of twenty great grandchildren, in which the oldest one is twenty four. My mother, Collene Spencer was a very blessed woman. Her relationship with her youngest great grandchild, Aleesia Spethman, who is my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s granddaughter, was one that was the rarest of the rare, and just as blessed for both of them. Aleesia has three older brothers, and at two years of age, taking her to all the activities the boys are into is difficult. That works our really well for my sister and it also worked quite well for our mom, because they got to see the baby often.
For Aleesia, the two relationships were different, even though they lived in the same house, and spent the time together. She loved both her grandma and her great grandmother, but the relationships were very unique. Aleesia decided that Mom would be called GiGi. Aleesia is too young to know that our mom was her great grandmother. The name GiGi seemed very fitting to my sister, because Mom was, after all Aleesia’s great grandmother, or GG. Aleesia loved coming over to GiGi’s house. Every time she came over, she would run in calling for GiGi. Then she would run over to see her. Aleesia trusted GiGi implicitly. Every time she was there, she would pull Mom’s walker over to Mom’s chair and climb up on it. Then she would jump from it into Mom’s arms. It never occurred to Aleesia that Mom wouldn’t catch her…she knew her GiGi would always catch her. It was a relationship that was so sweet to watch.
When Mom went to Heaven, the family and especially Aleesia’s parents, Jenny and Steve Spethman, and my sister, Cheryl, were worried about how Aleesia would deal with that, especially since Cheryl would continue to live in Mom’s house. She has done pretty well. She asked about Mom often at first, then she seemed to understand that GiGi wasn’t there, but even a two year old Aleesia is not immune to those ton of bricks moments. The other day, as Aleesia and my sister, her grandma, Cheryl were coming to the house to spend the evening at Mom’s house, Aleesia ran up to the door excitedly like she used to before, and knocking on it she said “We see GiGi?” Then she stopped and looked down, like she realized something. She turned and saw Mom’s car parked on the street, and with a really sad face, she said, “She’s not home.” Such a sad thing for a little two year old to have to try and understand, because her GiGi has always meant so much to her.
What does it take to make a great relationship? I’m sure the answer to that question varies from person to person, and depends on the type of relationship, but when it comes to the relationship between a father and his son, the best way to measure the greatness of that relationship…is with time spent together. Of course, laughter and fun are very important parts of that, but life isn’t always about fun and laughter. Much of life is about work, and about helping each other. It was in that aspect of life that my husband, Bob and his dad, Walt Schulenberg found themselves spending many hours over the years. My father-in-law could easily be categorized as a workaholic, and he trained his son to be the same. These men would go to work and spent 8 to 10 hours on the clock, doing physical labor. Then they would come home and spend another 2 to 4 hours working on some project at home. To them, it didn’t seem like work, but rather an enjoyable pastime. I don’t think most of us would feel exactly the same way about the work done around the home, and many people don’t about their jobs either, but that is the mentality of a workaholic. Work is fun…somehow.
If you wanted to find either one of these men, the best place to look was in the garage. Even if they weren’t working on a car, they were back and forth from what they were working on to the garage, because that was where all the tools were. And I’m here to tell you that between Bob, his dad, his brother, and his nephew…those guys had projects!! There were times that they came in from the garage and fell asleep in the chair from sheer exhaustion…and it was all their choice!! No one was making them do all these things. Sure, as mechanics, they helped out their friends, and those jobs come when they do, because you can’t plan a breakdown, but these guys had to squeeze those jobs in between all their own stuff and the planed jobs they do for people. It’s almost like they didn’t have time for a holiday. In fact, the only way to get Bob not to spend part of his day working on some project was to take him out of town.
Be that as it may, with all the projects Bob and his dad, and later his brother and nephew did together, their relationship was a very strong one. I suppose it really is a situation of the family that works together, stays together. I know that isn’t how the saying goes, but it really is the truth. Families working together toward a common goal, sharing the same hopes and dreams, and if their hopes and dreams are different that the others, they respect the right of each individual to have their own hopes and dreams. And they will do whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals. I think that is one of the things that always kept Bob and his dad close. Bob and I did not have to chose to live the same kind of life as his parents. They just wanted us to do was to be happy. I have to say that while Bob is different from his dad in many ways, he is also much the same…at least in all the areas that matter…such as responsibility, dedication, devotion, and the depth of his love, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.
I am always surprised somehow, when a side of the family tree takes an unexpected turn. I remember years ago, talking to Bob’s grandma, Vina Leary Schulenberg Hein about her family. She had never mentioned her mother much, but I knew that she loved her dad, Chester Marion Leary and her brother, Kirby Leary very much. The events of our past can shape our views of people…sometimes forever. The reasons people do things are not always clear, and sometimes may never be known. That said, Grandma told me that her mother had left when she was a young girl. That meant that her life changed overnight. Childhood was over to a degree, because she had to help out around the house. Her dad loved her and her brother very much, and did his very best for them.
I suppose that because I was asking her about her mom, she didn’t exactly go into detail about what happened afterward. While looking through Ancestry, yesterday, I clicked on a hit for Chester Leary that took me to FindAGrave.com. I didn’t have a picture of Chester’s grave yet, so I wanted to get that. As I looked at his memorial, some of which I had seen before, because I had added the picture of him, I glanced to the relationship information, and saw that there was a child listed there that did not match what I knew of the family. I clicked on the link for Ruth Leary Dilley, and it stated that indeed Chester was her father, but her mother was Marie, not Viola, who I knew to be Chester’s wife.
Well, of course, after Viola left Chester, he did remarry. I wondered why that was not mentioned when I spoke to Grandma Hein all those years ago. Since Grandma was listed as one of Ruth’s sisters, they must have had a relationship. It was so strange to me. I suppose that Grandma thought that all I was interested in was what happened to her mother, which wasn’t exactly right, but maybe the whole situation with her mother was still a touchy area, and she didn’t think about the woman, Marie Behrendt who had become her step mother. Marie was quite a bit younger than Chester…seventeen years, in fact…so Grandma Hein was fourteen years of age when they married, and Marie was only six years older that she was, so maybe she didn’t really feel like a mother to her, and maybe not even a friend really. Nevertheless, the half sisters who were born to that second marriage certainly felt like Grandma Hein was their sister, since they listed her as Ruth’s sister. Grandma Hein was just seventeen years old when she married her first husband, Bob’s grandfather, Andrew Schulenberg, so it could be that she wasn’t really around her dad’s new wife long enough to feel like she was her mother either.
Whatever the reason, I certainly did not know about the twist the family history was about to take. Of course, I know that marriages fail and people remarry, but it just seems odd that when asked about her side of the family, Grandma Hein mentioned only the things that she had felt so negative about, and not the aftermath. I have found some of the Dilley children, and plan to attempt to contact them to see what they know of things. Once again, time will tell as to whether or not I am able to learn much more about this step grandmother and half aunts that we have through my husband, Bob’s grandmother’s family. Once again, the story continues to evolve.
Before my Grandpa Spencer passed away from cancer, on October 19, 1951, his life had held some difficult, sad, and lonely moments. My Uncle Bill writes that his suffering, from the pain that comes with cancer, “increased steadily for the last year and a half…then it was over”, and no matter what mistakes he had made in his life, all that was left was sadness that it was over…longing for a few more days to settle matters…to find peace with what was coming. My Uncle Bill took care of him in those last years, and while there were some hard feelings between them in earlier years, in the end, Uncle Bill was very sorry that he was gone…I know that by the way he talked about his dad and his death. Grandpa wasn’t always the easiest person to be around, but in the later years, he and Uncle Bill had made a way…a careful relationship, I suppose, but it was a relationship at least, and for some years, there wasn’t even that.
Don’t get me wrong, Uncle Bill loved his dad, but he didn’t always agree with everything his dad said or did…but then, what kid does. Grandpa was a man of the times. In those days you didn’t think twice about giving your kid a good spanking if they needed it, and in fact, you didn’t have an issue with taking someone else’s child to task if they got out of line. That said, you also didn’t pick on someone else’s kid either. One time Uncle Bill had been sent to town to get some money from his dad who worked on the railroad and lived in town during the week. Grandpa decided to buy him a sarsaparilla in the bar…which was ok at that time…and while there, another man began picking on my Uncle Bill. Well, his dad, my grandpa, told the man to leave his son alone, and when he would not, a fight ensued, and grandpa beat him up. Uncle Bill always felt like that was a very special event in his life. He was pleased that his dad had stood up for him in that way. Nevertheless, a few years later, there was some discord between the two men. Theirs was a guarded relationship for a long time, but in the end, they had started to work out their differences, and then time ran out.
Sometimes, when you read through the journals of another person, or in this case, the family history written by a man who dedicated his life to telling the family story as clearly as he understood it, you find yourself taking a look deep into the reality of human relationships. No matter how annoyed we can be at someone, we can also love them very much. And when it comes to the point of their passing, those difficult relationships can leave a very different kind of hole in our lives…one filled with “what if’s” and “if only’s”, and once that person is gone, no way to change the relationship for the better or at least, forgive that past. Those who are left behind, must deal with their own feelings within themselves, because there is really no one there to talk to about it all. Nevertheless, I believe that Grandpa knew that his son loved him and I believe he loved Uncle Bill and his other children very much, too.
Having your child on someone else’s birthday can be a very cool thing, as I have seen with my own daughter, but having your first child on your own birthday would be even more cool, if you ask me. That is exactly what happened with my grandmother and my Aunt Laura. It was like a birthday present of sorts. I know how cool that shared birthday was for my daughter, Corrie and her grandmother, Bob’s grandmother. They loved it and shared every birthday party for as long as Grandma was still alive. Corrie always felt like she was Grandma’s Girl.
In looking at my grandmother’s photo album, I could easily see that same relationship with Grandma Spencer and Aunt Laura. They liked each other…which is different that loving each other. Many people love their family members, but really don’t like some of them much. Grandma and Aunt Laura went places together, and did things together, and it didn’t seem to be just because they were mother and daughter. I have to think it was partly because of that shared birthday.
As I look at the pictures in the album, many of which my Aunt Laura is in, it occurrs to me that, now I would know her, as a child, anywhere. She was a pretty little girl with long beautiful hair…something my sisters and I also had as kids, and two of us still do. She played the violin as a child, but I’m told she didn’t like it much, and yet she loves classical music, which so often includes the violin. I guess there is a big difference between playing an instrument and listening to an orchestra. On that point, I would have to agree with her. I used to love to listen to the music wen my girls were in orchestra and band, but for me to make those instruments play anything like music…well, can you say “sick duck” or even imagine what one sounds like…that would be me trying to play Corrie’s violin or Amy’s clarinet. I guess that Aunt Laura got pretty good, as did her sister, Aunt Ruth.
My Aunt Laura would have been 101 years old tomorrow, on her mother’s 126th birthday. I know she, my dad, and my Aunt Ruth, along with many other cherished family members are waiting in Heaven for the day of our arrival, and I look forward to seeing them once again. Thinking of your both Grandma and Aunt Laura on your birthdays tomorrow. We love you very much.
When you lose one parent, you feel a like half of your world is messed up. You still have the other parent, but it still doesn’t feel right…doesn’t feel the same as it used to be. I have felt that kind of loss twice in my life, because when you marry into a family, you gain a second set of parents. Having in-laws can be good or bad depending on the relationship you build with your in-laws. For me it was a good relationship, so when my father-in-law passed away, it was my second dad that passed away. I have noticed something quite different with my father-in-law’s passing, from my dad’s passing.
While both mothers are still alive, and in my family, that is a more stablizing fact, in Bob’s family, it is not so much the case. Since his mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and is in a nursing home, it feels almost like she is gone from us too, in a sense. It isn’t that we don’t go see her often, because we do, but because she doesn’t have any input in family matters. It almost feels like the family is adrift at sea…in separate boats!! Everyone is busy doing their own things, and living their own lives, but that creates a feeling of disconnect in my mind. While some family members call each other and talk about things, others don’t. Some I haven’t heard from since the end of May, when we had Brenda’s birthday party. It is a bit of a lonely feeling.
Other family members, I talk to often, of course, and it is my hope that the family will regroup and become as strong as it was before. I’m sure everyone is just trying to deal with everything in their own way, but for me, it just seems like some of the family has grown farther apart from the rest of us, and I think that is sad. I’m one of those people who likes close family ties, and not talking to the family much is, well…as I said before, like being adrift at sea…in separate boats.
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!!