It seems impossible to me that my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg could be gone now for two years. She was such a fighter, when it came to her health. There were a number of times that we thought we had lost her, but she always bounced back…until she didn’t. The end of her days had come, and with it, there were no parents in our lives again. My parents, Al and Collene Spencer and my father-in-law, Walt Schulenberg were gone, and now my mother-in-law had joined them in Heaven. It felt empty here on earth. The loss hit hard with each of my four parents, but with my mother-in-law, there was also the finality of it. We had no more parents. We, their children, are the matriarchs and patriarchs of our families now, but it feels like we are orphans. The knowledge that you have no parents, really brings that orphaned feeling home.
My mother-in-law, was a homemaker for most of her life, and very skilled in things like cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and canning. These were things she passed down to her daughters, and to me. Of course, my own mother taught me part of these things too, but we didn’t can often, other than making jelly, and the things my mother-in-law cooked were different from my own mom, so that added variety to my abilities. My mother-in-law, was probably best known for her sewing, knitting, and crocheting. She sold many of her crafts at craft fairs over the years, adding to the family budget and to her craft budget as well. She also loved to bake, and her “Murder Cake” was a family favorite.
My in-laws lived in the country for most of the time I knew them, but they moved to town in the last years of their lives. While she preferred the quiet of the country, my mother-in-law did enjoy watching all the activity that took place near their home at the corner of two busy streets in In her later years, my mother-in-law developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Casper. After she had to be moved to Shepherd of the Valley nursing home, she enjoyed the activity there, especially at the nurses station, because she was a “people watcher” all her life. She liked to see what everyone around her was up to, and figure it all out, even wondering why they spoke to the people they did, or did the things they did. I was glad that her curiosity never left her. It made her time in the nursing home must more interesting. Finally, on January 4, 2018, she lost her health battle. Like most Alzheimer’s patients, it was not the disease that took her, but rather that her kidneys gave out. She passed peacefully that evening, after having her family around her earlier in the day. She simply went to sleep, and went home. While we were so sorry to see her go, we knew she was tired of fighting. We love and miss her very much.
I’ve often thought, upon waking from a sleeping position that my body didn’t particularly like, that it would be wonderful to sleep in an anti-gravity machine. Maybe I would sleep better, and maybe I wouldn’t, but the reality is that it’s quite probable that man was not really intended for long periods of anti-gravity. While a few hours of blissful sleep, followed by no aches and pains from pillow or mattress, might be something wonderful to experience, I can fully see, after reading about the astronaut, Scott Kelly, who at least for a time spent the longest number of consecutive days at the International Space Station, in a state of anti-gravity. That number was 340 days.
My first thought was of how gentle that must have been to his body, and maybe I would be right, but at some point, Kelly had to return to Earth. The experiment that he was a part of was over. The idea was to learn what the effects on the human body were in a prolonged state of anti-gravity. It really hadn’t occurred to me that there might be any adverse effects, but apparently I would have been wrong. Among the complaints Kelly spoke of, one of the worst was a burning rash all over his skin. I wondered what might have caused that. The answer amazed me. The rash appeared on his back, legs, arm, and anywhere else where his body has touched the bed he now sleeps in. Not only is there a rash, but it is inflamed, feeling hot to the touch. Okay, my body may not like my mattress and pillow all the time, but it doesn’t give me a burning rash, so maybe it’s not so bad after all, and since I only occasionally wake up achy from my night’s sleep, I’ll deal with it.
Among the other complaints Kelly suffered, were feelings of nausea (possibly a vertigo type of an issue), a stumbling gait from legs that are not used to gravity (Kelly’s vestibular system was trying to readjust to Earth’s gravity…like learning to walk all over again), an altered sense of gravity (waking up feeling like he is upside down), muscle atrophy from muscles that weren’t used, an all-over body ache from the pressures of gravity, and a constant grogginess, just to name a few. Of course, short -term anti-gravity such as I would experience by sleeping in an anti-gravity machine, would be very unlikely to produce any adverse conditions, like prolonged anti-gravity did in Kelly. Nevertheless, because our bodies are designed to work with gravity, I suppose my sleep idea is not such a good idea after all. At least, I don’t think it is one that I am willing to take a chance on.
I have always loved cats. I like dogs too, but for the most part, I like cats better. I love to watch them play, and love it when they want to cuddle and purr. Maybe it’s because we had some cats when I was very young, but then we had the one dog I can say I truly loved too, King. For the most part, dogs annoy me a little bit, I guess. They are always sniffing and licking you. Cats, on the other hand, might lick you once in a while, if you have something tasty on your hand, but for the most part, they want you to be their slave. You are to pet them, or they will stick their head under your hand so that you are reminded of your job. They are unashamed concerning their plan too. If you have the nerve to leave them alone for longer than they think you should, then you will be subjected to the cold shoulder. How long depends on how quickly you begin to make amends, but know this, they plan to hold out a while.
Most cats feel like their owner is not really their owner, in fact, cats are sure they are the owner. I know that’s how both of my mom’s cats felt about her. Every time we took Mom out of town, they would practically ignore her upon her return. Nevertheless, whenever Mom needed them to be there…they were, whether her little knights in shining armor could do anything to help her or not. They were able to stay right there beside her, with a look of concern, until help arrived. Even though the cats couldn’t do anything for her, her loyal cats stayed by her side, because whether she was the owner or the cat was the owner, her cats loved her very much. I know that dogs have been known to do the same things, but I just found it so sweet that her cats tried so hard to be her super hero.
Maybe that is the reason why I love cats so much. Their cuddly, purring ways, and their need to be with their human, even if it is just to make their human pet them, That may be a bit selfish on the cat’s part, but it is loving too. Cats have, not only the ability crave love, but they are also capable of giving love. The cats my girls had when they were little put up with so much. Our daughters, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce, were little and rough, but the cats never scratched them intentionally, because they loved them. All they wanted was to be near the girls.
That’s how one of our cats was with me, when I was a little girl. I know that I was probably not a perfect human for our cats, but it didn’t matter. The cat wanted to be with me. It didn’t matter what I was doing, the cat adapted. And I’m quite certain that I felt the exact same as the cat did. I’m not sure how often my cat slept in my crib, but my guess is that it was more than once. It was such a sweet gesture. I expect that it happened often, because, my parents thought it was sweet enough to capture on film. And…I am glad they did.
Kids seem to be able to go to sleep in just about any position. I suppose adults can do that too, but it seems to be the kids who do it most often. And the thing that is most amazing is that the kids don’t seem to wake up with a neck ache or a backache or any thing else. If we sleep in those awkward positions, as adults, it seems like before long we are awakened by the crick in our neck or back that is screaming at us to, “for Pete’s sake…lay down!!” Not so babies. Whatever they are doing, when they get tired, like my grandson Caalab Royce or my niece, Toni Chase sleeping in their swing, my grandson Christopher Petersen or my daughter, Corrie Petersen sleeping in their highchairs in the middle of a meal, they simply close their eyes and it’s lights out!! It doesn’t matter if their meal is over or just beginning, if they are worn out from all the work of eating, they just give up and go to sleep. And we all know that a baby swing is the world’s best babysitter.
As parents or grandparents, we now have a decision to make. Should we take them out of the high chair, wash their face and hands, and put them to bed…risking the possibility that they will wake up and not want to go back to sleep? Now every parent knows that if you do that and they do wake up, your quiet time is over. That precious time only occurs when the little ones go down for a nap or to bed for the night. Disturbing that plan is not a great idea. And really, their little face can be washed later. It’s not like the food will stain anything…unless your child is my daughter, Amy Royce, who could give herself a Kool-Aid mustache that was really hard to remove…but then, that came after the nap, while she was glaring at me in her post-nap grouchy face…the one that made me decide that giving that happy little pre-nap girl her daily nap, was not worth the grouchy girl post-nap headache I got. Parents also have to weigh the pros and cons of the possibly grouchy baby who got a crick in their neck from sleeping in such weird positions in their swing, with the possibility of a grouchy baby who wouldn’t go to sleep after you repositioned them.
In the end, most parents opted to let the child sleep in whatever weird position they landed in…even if it was standing up. How does a child fall asleep standing up anyway?? I suppose it was a matter of having something to lean on that would support their weight, but why wouldn’t their little legs buckle in their sleep. I suppose my nephew, Ryan Hadlock came by that ability honestly, since my Uncle Bill Spencer, tells me that his little brother, my dad and Ryan’s grandpa, Allen Spencer fell asleep standing on a wood pile one time. In reality, when the need for sleep arises, we go to sleep, be it watching television, eating, sitting in a baby swing, in school, or oops…sometimes even at work. Our bodies have a mind of their own, when it comes to needing their rest, and if we don’t answer the call and go to bed, our bodies will just take matters into their own hands…and we will just have to deal with the consequences.
When my sisters and I were kids, our parents had a movie camera, a projector, and a movie screen. They took a lot of home movies. It was as common then as it is now, but the technology has changed dramatically. Still, I don’t think that the home movies we have today are enjoyed in quite the same way as they were back then. When you have to set up a projector and screen, and then put them away afterward, watching home movies is a big production, and one that doesn’t happen often. It becomes a special occasion that kids will fight to stay awake for. These days, it is often one person watching on a computer screen or a television, and there just isn’t the same crowd to laugh at all the funny things.
That was exactly how it was in our family. When we talked Mom and Dad into watching home movies, we wanted to stay up and watch as many as we could in one night. Asking to watch “just one more” was not unheard of. For our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock, staying up was a little more difficult than for the rest of us. Nevertheless, on one night in particular, she insisted that she could stay awake for the movie. Mom and Dad put the movie on the projector, and we started watching it. It wasn’t long before Allyn began to doze off. Dad tried to keep her awake, but it was no use. She was just too tired. Before long, Allyn was sound asleep. The movie was just too long. Of course, we all knew that Allyn was sleeping, and in a way it was funny, because she didn’t lay her head down or anything, but rather looked like she was watching the movie.
I’m not sure how much of the movie Allyn missed, but even when it was over, she did not wake up. We turned on the lights, but she didn’t move. Finally, it was time to wake her up, and when we did, she was quite startled. Someone was right there with the camera to record the humorous moment, and I must say that I’m glad they were. Kids do such silly stuff sometimes, and so often we forget to record the silliness. Later on, all we have is the story of the funny event, but nothing to really show how it happened, but in this case, we had the ammunition to tease Allyn for years to come. It is almost all the ammunition we have on her, becaue she never got into trouble..just ask us, we’ll tell you. Sometimes it is the goofy things we do as kids that are the most embarrassing. So, here’s to embarrassing moments. It is impossible to go through life without them, and Allyn just think, at least you didn’t fall asleep in school…that we know of.
People joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join them, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.
Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Casper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.
Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When my nephew, Eric was a baby, Amy, my daughter babysat for his parents quite a lot. Because Eric’s mom, my sister-in-law, Jennifer is a nurse, she worked shiftwork, so often Amy would stay the night, and then on Sunday mornings, Eric, and his older brother, JD would come to church with us. Eric was such a cuddly baby, and since I didn’t get to hold him as often as Amy, I would usually let Amy keep JD entertained, so he would play quietly under her watchful eye, and I would hold Eric. As I said, Eric was a cuddly baby, and he would simply snuggle up in my arms and go right to sleep. It had been a long time since my girls were little, so holding a baby for an hour while he slept was something I hadn’t had the privilege of doing for a while, and it was really a treat every week. It became, another reason to look forward to Sunday mornings.
When Amy became old enough to have a job, her babysitting days ended. Jennifer started working more day shifts, and my sister-in-law, Brenda stayed with the boys whenever Jennifer worked nights, just as she had when Amy was too young to stay at the house alone. I saw less and less of Eric and JD. It’s a natural change, and one that I found a bit sad. Babies just don’t stay babies long enough…a fact that Eric is learning for himself now. Eric is a grown man now, married, daddy to his little girl, Reagan, and he is going to be a daddy again in September. I’m sure he, like every other parent in history, just can’t believe how quickly his little girl is growing up. By the time his second child arrives, Reagan will be almost two years old. I’m sure that is unbelievable to Eric and his wife, Ashley.
For the last year or so, they have been remodeling the home that they bought as a fixer upper, and it is looking beautiful. Before long, they will be decorating the new nursery for baby number two. It’s a good thing that they are already in remodel mode, because this is just another step in a their plan, and they will take it in stride just like they did with Reagan, and in September, they will be a family of four. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Many people can’t wait for summer, so they can go camping. As kids, my sisters and I loved it. It didn’t matter if we were sleeping in a camper or on the ground, as long as Dad was willing to put another log on the fire to keep the bears away…which is what we thought would work…and it probably did no good, but we were girls…what did we know. All we cared about was that we were traveling and had no school, and we got to see new places and do fun new things. Of course, one of the things we always liked was the campfire at night. The smell of the burning wood, roasting marshmallows, looking at the stars, and just enjoying the warmth radiating from the fire, made the evening so fun and relaxing. Those were times we enjoyed so much, and times that I miss sometimes. It’s funny, because I’m not much of a camper these days, although I love to go hiking. It’s just that at night, I kind of like a nice soft bed and a room without bugs and cold air. I do still love to sit around the fire though.
Kids, especially love to be around the campfire. They want to add wood to it, stir it and everything that they are so sure is important to having a campfire. I love to watch little kids around the campfire, they just get so excited…but then which one of us isn’t a kid at heart when it comes to campfires. These days you can even buy a little fire pit to have in the back yard, so your can enjoy those fires whenever you feel like it. It’s not exactly like camping, but it gives you a little bit of that feel…or whets your appetite for summer…or at least summertime things.
Sleeping in a sleeping bag these days isn’t my favorite thing to do, but then it does remind most people of camping out. Some people love it so much that they can’t wait for summer to go camping. It is a matter of have sleeping bag, will camp. For those people, and my grand nephew, Ethan and grand niece, Aurora certainly qualify in this category, it simply doesn’t matter where you camp out. The campground, the back yard, or even Ethan’s bedroom will do, as long as you are sleeping in a sleeping bag, and not in your bed. I don’t know how much sleep Ethan and Aurora got on this little camping trip, but they definitely had a great time.
My Grand Nephew, Easton Moore, who is the youngest son of my niece Machelle and her husband, Steve, is having his tenth birthday today. Turning ten, is a big deal to Easton, as it is with most kids. He is leaving the little kid days of a single digit age behind, and moving on into the much more grown up days of double digit ages. Nothing could be more important to a guy than that!! After all, it is the beginning of so many new phases in his life…right??
Well, it is…but those new phases can seem a little bit daunting too. Many kids at this age, think it’s babyish to say things like, “I love you Mom!” For Easton, that could be a problem, because one of his favorite things is to sit on his mom’s lap when she sits down to watch television, and then tell her that he loves her about every 5 minutes. I hope that is something that Easton never allows to bother him. My grandson, Caalab is like that, and even though he is going to be 17 this summer, he still gives me a hug and tells me he loves me…and he is very macho, so don’t worry about that, Easton, ok.
Easton is not sure he likes having his own room either, and he can often be found sleeping on the floor in his brother’s room. Again, that is not too unusual at this age, especially since he and his brother shared a room until recently. That is a problem he shares with his Aunt Susie, and seems to happen when the younger child finally gets their own room. The older one shared until they were old enough not to be bothered by that aloneness. Time will cure that little problem.
One thing Easton definitely doesn’t miss is being in the back seat of the car. He is now big enough to no longer require a booster seat, so he finally gets to ride up front with his mom…and now she is the one who finds that odd. I’m sure that Easton loves being closer to the radio, so he can turn it up when his favorite song, “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx AM comes on. Of course, he is into anything Zombie, like his favorite movie, “I Am Legend” and his favorite game, “Walking Dead”, both of which I will leave to him, since I don’t like zombies or vampires or walking dead people…at all!!
Basically, Easton is a goofy kid, even if he is 10 years old now. He likes to make all the faces that are so in style these days and pick on those around him, like hiding on the floor of the car so he can scare the person getting in. He likes to pick on his cousin, Kaytlyn too…but I’m not sure she finds that very amusing. Today is Easton’s tenth birthday. Happy birthday Easton!! We love you!! Have a great day, but quit growing up so fast, ok!!
When a household has three boys, and one baby girl, and each of the boys have a friend spend the night on the same night, what do you have? Well, besides chaos and a severely outnumbered little girl, you have boys night out! For the boys who are staying the night with my grand nephews, it truly is boys night out. For Xander, Zack, and Isaac, it is boys night in, not that they mind that one bit. Now, as to my niece Jenny and her husband Steve, I have to think they might be just a little bit insane, but then they have been around boys for most of their married life, so I suppose they are used to the ways of little boys. I, on the other hand, having had girls, would most likely have gone insane…until I had my grandsons anyway. Being around boys does change a person.
Slumber parties…or boys night out, as my grand nephews informed me…like slumber party must be the closest thing to cooties on girls, and something they definitely would never be a part of…usually follow the same pattern. Lots of playing, loudness, wild and wound up kids, and little sleep. Nevertheless, do not call it a slumber party. I mean, what self respecting macho man would have a slumber party. There are differences between slumber parties and boys night out, however. Girls usually do things like make up, dancing, and of course gossip. Boys, on the other hand might play super hero, watch movies, or talk about their various weapons. I suppose when you think about it, the two events really are very different. And I suppose that calling this event a slumber party, could be thought to be insulting…a mistake I hope not to make in the future, because my grand nephews looked at me like I had kind of messed up in the great aunt department, and I’m supposed to be the cool great aunt, not the nerd. I guess that is something I’ll have to work to repair now, but that will have to happen in the future for now.
I didn’t ask Jenny and Steve how the boys night out went for them, but I guess it was ok, because they were both in church today, meaning that even if they feel little bit exhausted, or a little bit crazy, they did survive the event. I guess that is a good thing. And as for Aleesia, the lone little girl in the house that night, well, she was still smiling, so either they all had a good time playing with her too, or her parents kept her away from the boys so they could have their own space. Whatever the case may be, the boys told me that they had a great time at their boys night out.