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My niece, Lacey Killinger has had a banner year this year. Most of this past year was spent planning for and preparing for her wedding. There were fittings, parties, a bachelorette trip to Nashville,  all culminating in the wedding of her dreams on October 28, 2023. On that day, Lacey became not only a wife to Chris, but a bonus mom to her beautiful bonus kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. Lacey truly loves those two kids. She has a kind heart and a sweet spirit, and the kids really love her for it. It was such a beautiful day, and it was so special to see her dreams come true. They immediately turned into a completed family, even though they were pretty much a family before…from the very beginning to be exact.

Over the past few years, many things in Lacey’s life have been taking an upward turn. It’s not that she was in a slump, because she wasn’t, but rather, it’s because she is receiving so many blessings from God in her life. The Bible talks about overflowing abundance and joy, and that is exactly what is going on in Lacey’s life right now. She owns her own hair salon, called LuxLou Beauty, and she specializes in hair and makeup for weddings. Business is going so well for her, that she is often booked out for months in advance. there is no better to gauge the success of a business than how busy they are.

Lacey and Chris are just perfect for each other. They are of like temperament, and they like many of the same things. They are loving parents to the children, and the kids love them both so much. Their workplaces are much different, but that is to be expected, and both are exerts in their field, so they are successful at their jobs. They are both soft-spoken, and very loving people. Anyone who knows them is blessed by them. They always look forward to summer, as they love to got to the lake and hang out with the family The kids especially love going to the lake to cool off and swim. Family time is very important to the Stevens family (Lacey’s family) as a whole, and they really love to get together for various summertime gatherings, like an annual family reunion. Chris and the kids totally love going and everyone has a great time. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Christmas Eve is filled with many and varied traditions. Some families have a special family dinner on Christmas Eve…things that might not normally be considered “Christmas fare.” The Schulenberg tradition was always chili on Christmas Eve. Later, that evolved to include Lasagna. At first, when I married into the family, I thought the idea was totally odd, but we still do it to this day, and I can’t imagine Christmas Eve any other way. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones to make chili either, because I heard a friend at church talking about the same thing today. Let’s be real, chili is always a hit, as is Lasagna.

For many years, my family got to open one gift on Christmas eve, and then everything else was Christmas day. Then, I incorporated the stockings into Christmas eve. Bob’s family always opened their gifts on Christmas, and then my family always did Christmas morning. That worked well, but as the family has grown, my family has a Christmas party a week or two before Christmas, and this year, because we have so many families, we opened ours today. It worked so well, and everyone had a great time.

Some people, like my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, decided that Christmas eve was the perfect day for a wedding. That wasn’t so uncommon back in 1927, and especially in the years of the “Old West” when travel wasn’t so easy, people would plan weddings around times when family was always gathered for other events. It made sense, because their relatives were already there, so no additional planning was necessary, with the exception of adding a cake and a preacher to the mix. We always thought it was very cool that Grandma and Grandpa celebrated their many years of wedded bliss on Christmas eve.

I believe that how the day is celebrated is not so important as is having your family around to celebrate it. Of course, families can’t always be together to celebrate Christmas eve, or Christmas day, so the main thing is to take plenty of pictures and pass them back and forth. That was, everyone gets to share in the special moments. That’s how love is shown. Merry Christmas Eve everyone!! I pray that your holiday is great.

My niece, Michelle Miller has had a busy year this year. She and her husband, Matt love the outdoors, and had done some camping before, but this year they bought a “new to them” fifth wheel from Michelle’s Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike. The trailer is pretty big and gives them all the comforts they could want. They really love it, and they have gone camping this year, more than ever before. They are both very busy people, and being able to get away is so important, so I am very happy for them.

In July, the whole Miller family went to Alaska for Matt’s brother, Mikey’s birthday. It was a wonderful trip, and Michelle loved Alaska. I think that is how everyone feels about Alaska, me included. Mikey has a sailboat, and they got to go out in it a few times and really enjoyed it. Being the sporting family they are, they did a lot of fishing, and of course, eating the fish they caught. Since they were a big group, they rented an RV, so they could do a lot of camping and sightseeing. Michelle especially loved the mountains and overall scenery of Alaska. The mountains are so majestic. Everything seems huge in Alaska. You discover how small humans are in comparison.

On October 28, her sister, Lacey got married, and Michelle was one of the bridesmaids. The wedding was beautiful, and everyone looked so elegant. Michelle was so happy for her sister, and the wedding preparation went perfectly. The bachelorette weekend was held in Nashville at the end of September, and Michelle really pampered her sister. Everyone had so much fun. Michelle helped in any way that she could to ensure that the wedding went smoothly and that it was Lacey’s dream wedding.

Michelle has been really busy at The Nic (The Nicolaysen Art Museum) where she works, but she has found time to get back into doing her own art, and Michelle is an amazing artist, so I’m glad that her talent has been able to blossom again. She has also been doing a lot of sewing. I didn’t know she could sew, and I am amazed at anyone who can. I’ve sewed some things, but I would not call myself a seamstress. Michelle really loves both activities. Michelle and her husband also have two fur babies…puppies Obie and Leia. They truly are her babies, and she loves to spoil them terribly, but that is what people do with their fur babies, after all. Michelle even has a nanny cam so she can see them and talk to them while she’s at work. Now, that’s love…they can’t be lonely, right!! Good job fur momma!! Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Yesterday, in front of family and friends, my niece, Lacey Stevens married the love of her life, Chris Killinger. The ceremony was beautiful, personalized, and sweetly relaxed. Her brother, Garrett Stevens had become ordained to marry, and he performed the ceremony. In many ways, that made the ceremony as sweet as it was. It wasn’t stiff, but was rather comfortable, and even included a little giggling, as a little humor graced the day. It was a beautiful blend of happiness, ceremony, and relaxed humor. As for Lacey’s new husband, well…Chris was so emotional at seeing his bride, that he cried. Some people might think that odd, but it was…perfect. I loved the idea of seeing our new nephew so taken with the woman he had chosen, that he couldn’t stop the tears. I know Lacey and her family would agree with me when I say that it was a beautiful moment.

When Lacey met Chris, as with any new relationship, she didn’t know where this would lead. Nevertheless, she knew that she was taken with the nice man, who treated her with love and respect immediately. They are so perfect for each other. They like the same things, and they are heading in the same direction. The great news is that they now have a wonderful companion with whom to share the road of life. Chris brought some things to the marriage that were unexpected, but things Lacey needed. Lacey wanted to start her own salon (Lacey is a Cosmetologist and now the owner of LuxLou Beauty) and Chris encouraged her to do so. He even helped advertise for her. Chris has a very different career than Lacey (office and purchasing manager for Atlas Aero Service at Natrona County International Airport). Many guys would think that pushing a beauty salon would be…not in their wheelhouse, but Chris is so proud of Lacey’s accomplishments. Lacey brought some things too, especially in light of Chris’ two children, Brooke and Jaxon. Lacey brought a heart big enough to embrace her bonus children. It has been a wonderful thing for everyone. The kids love Lacey very much, and the cousins, Elliott and Maya Stevens, they gained from the relationship. Of course, that wasn’t all either one of them brought to the marriage. One of the greatest things they brought to the marriage is their friendship with each other. They are so kind and loving to each other, and they have the same ideas in mind for the future.

Their wedding was the culmination of the love that has grown between these two wonderful people, and we are so happy for them both. I’m excited to see where life takes them as they begin this wonderful journey together. I know that they will always be happy, because they are perfect for each other. Congratulations of your marriage Lacey and Chris. We wish you the very best life has to offer and claim God’s greatest blessing for you all. Introducing Mr and Mrs Killinger!! We love you!!

My grandson, Josh Petersen and his fiancée, Athena Salazar met in middle school, and at the time, Athena tells me that she didn’t really like Josh much. That’s not such an odd thing. in those early teen years, everybody feels awkward, and doesn’t really know how to show someone that you like them, and especially for girls, the awkward maneuvering of the teenaged boys makes them someone the girls would rather just avoid. I don’t really know if Josh liked Athena back then, but when they met again, both working at Sanford’s, they knew that things had changed for them. Now before them was a person who was suddenly quite loveable, and they knew that they had found their soulmate for life. Josh and Athena had followed the path of his Grandma and Grandpa Schulenberg, who had known each other all their lives, and for those awkward teen years, she didn’t like him, but then it all changed, and they were together for life. It’s really a sweet story, when you think about it. Today, the story of Josh and Athena is going to the next level. Today, they will marry the love of their lives. They have been waiting for so long, and they are so excited.

We are so happy to have Athena join our family. It is wonderful to see Josh so happy. They couldn’t be more perfect for each other if they tried. They find the same things to be funny, and they love the same things, especially their son, Justin, who was born in 2022 and their little baby boy who will be making his entrance at the end of September. Life is good for these sweet kids, and now it is going to be even sweeter as they become husband and wife. They have so many good things ahead of them and this is just the beginning, the point when two lives who have known each other for so long, and now become one.

Josh and Athena have so much in common, from school days to work, to their likes and dislikes, and their temperaments. They are the kind of people who are always willing to help others, and that endears them to many people. They like to travel and see new places, but they enjoy hanging out at home just as much. Their son, Justin and soon his little brother, Axel are their top priorities, and they love them both so much. They are already such great parents, and so great as a couple, and I know they will be equally as great as husband and wife. Today is the day…their Wedding Day!! Congratulations Athena and Josh!! Congratulations on your marriage!! We are so happy for you both!! We love you!!

My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook is my husband, Bob Schulenberg’s older sister. When they were younger, they were good friends, mostly I suppose, because of their closeness in age. Debbie was just 17 months older than Bob. I don’t know how close they were as kids, but as adults, they got along very well. In fact, it was because of that closeness that Bob and I met at all. Debbie and I were both working at Kmart. She had graduated from high school, and I was a senior in high school. She worked in the Deli, and I worked in the Millinery Department (handbags and wigs, for those who don’t know). I had a display by the Deli, and we became friends. Later, we would double date, and eventually, I was the maid of honor in her wedding, and she the matron of honor in mine.

After we both had children, the cousins became good friends. When Debbie and her husband, LJ Cook moved their family, including daughters, Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith, to Thermopolis, Wyoming from Casper, Wyoming, our daughters would take turns spending a week with each other in the summers. Those were special times for everybody, and times I miss very much. I think we all do. Of course, we would not choose to go back, because we would miss out on so much, like grandchildren. Debbie has two grandsons, Weston and Easton Moore; and two granddaughters, Jala Satterwhite and Katlyn Griffith.

Debbie and LJ have suffered some health issues as they have grown older, but they are working very hard to get themselves back to health. LJ had back surgery, and now, he feels so much better. Debbie has been trying to get healthy, and with the encouragement of her daughters, she has also done such a great job losing weight. She has realized that with age, can come decline, so Debbie has decided that she doesn’t want that to happen to her and LJ. So, she has been going to the senior center for exercise classes a few times a week, and as an added perk, getting pedicures there as well. She has been eating better and cooking more health-conscious meals for both her and LJ.

Debbie has been trying to get involved with the Powell community in the past few years, where they now live. She’s joined the “Giddy Up Gals” too. They are a part of the Red Hat Society. She has really become involved with the local senior center, including some of their trips to Cody. She also enjoys getting out of the house and making friends. These are things that Debbie hasn’t been able to do in recent years. I’m really happy for her and for LJ, because it’s been a long hard road, and now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Today is Debbie’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Jenny Spethman has had a very busy year, both at work and at home. Sadly, she lost two of her pets this past year, Angel (her dog) and Princeton (her cat). Nevertheless, Jenny has persevered, and adopted a new puppy, named Bella and cats, Tigress and Zoe. Jenny has always been an animal lover and has had a variety of pets over the years. She is a natural with every animal she has ever owned or helped…including a baby raccoon once, and of course, her Iguana.

Jenny’s year at work has been really busy too. Jenny began her career as a runner at the law firm where her mom, Cheryl Masterson also works as a legal secretary, but Jenny is really so much more than that now. She helps in so many areas, and everyone loves her helpful and caring nature!! Jenny has an artistic flair, and although it is not part of her job, she enjoyed doing some redecorating in the main lobby and in some of the conference rooms. Her eye for what looks attractive really shined forth, and everyone there enjoys the new and updated look!

Jenny has a good friend who is getting married soon, and Jenny is a part of the group of friends who are helping her friend and future sister-in-law plan the wedding. As a woman who has been married for a long time, Jenny hasn’t been in a wedding in years, so she is really enjoying all of the excitement of being in this one. She and her friends are enjoying every moment of planning this wedding and are going all out to make sure it’s the wedding event of the year…at least in their own circle!!! The girls in the wedding are going to Denver to shop for wedding clothes and accessories for the wedding. The girls are so excited about this trip, and they plan to make it a great weekend, and do a lot of fun pre-wedding activities along with the shopping. Jenny is so excited to be going on this Girl’s Trip. It’s going to be a great time.

Jenny is a great mom, and for most of her married life, she was a stay-at-home mom to her four children, Xander, Zack, Isaac, and Aleesia (their daughter, Laila, lives in Heaven). Having three sons, made Jenny think she would never get a daughter, but then Aleesia came along, and Jenny had someone to do girly things with. Now that Aleesia is growing up (she’s 10 now), Jenny and her daughter have been doing more mom and daughter stuff. Jenny has always been a spring and summer girl, and she is looking forward to motorcycle rides and drives in their convertible, with her husband Steve, who is the love of her life, and always will be. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! I love you!!

This past year has been one filled with excitement, change, and growth for my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey, who is a hairdresser, opened her own salon. It’s called LuxLou Beauty Salon, and her business is really growing. Most of her family and friends go to Lacey regularly…not to mention the new people who have been referred to her. Lacey not only does people’s hair for their everyday life, but she also specializes in hair and makeup for their weddings, which as we all know is the most important day in a girl’s life. You want the best for that special day, and Lacey is an expert in providing the very best look for that all-important day. Lacey is very good at what she does, and she listens to her clients, to make sure she does exactly as the want it to be. Going forward, I know that Lacey’s business will only grow bigger and bigger.

While her business is really big news, the most exciting news is that Lacey got engaged to her boyfriend, Chris Killinger just before Christmas. These two are perfect for each other, and Lacey is already a wonderful stepmom to Chris’ two kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. They love her and our whole family, and we all love them. While many people might think that having a “ready-made family” would be tough, Lacey has embraced it and truly considers Chris’ kids her own. That is as it should be. When you marry a person with children, you marry the whole family. The best stepparents know and embrace that, and it helps that Brooklyn and Jaxon are very sweet. Lacey also has a soft heart, and she is very loving to children, so it’s a blessing to all.

Lacey has been helping Chris with updates to their house. They have been painting, and they also updated the bathroom, which turned out great. This is somewhat new to Lacey, but she is always willing to learn new things and help him with improvements to their home. It’s always fun to watch the changes that people go through as they blend their lives. What one person knows and has done, the other might not have, but when you blend them together, each can teach the other something new…be it a skill or a style.

Now that they are engaged, Lacey and Chris are very busily planning their wedding, scheduled for October. I know it is going to be as beautiful as these two are, and we are all very excited for them. I guess Lacey won’t need to hire someone to do her makeup, because she is the best person for the job. Her own hair and makeup always look perfectly stunning, so unless she just wants to be pampered, why go elsewhere. Of course, we don’t know any of the other details of the wedding plans, and that is as it should be, but I know it will be perfect, and I am very happy for these two. Today is Lacey’s 30th birthday. It’s the perfect time for Lacey to begin the next chapter of her life, but I can’t believe she isn’t a little girl of 3. Where has the time gone. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Christmas Eve…the half day beginning of the Christmas holiday. I say, half day, because many businesses are open half of the day, letting their employees off early to spend time with their families. For some families the opening of gifts is even done on Christmas Eve, while others are preparing for the festivities that will be taking place the next day. For my grandparents, as well as many other people across the world and even in my own family, Christmas Eve seems like the perfect day to be married. In my grandparents’ day, that was often how it happened, because family was gathered and gathering wasn’t always easy, so I suppose it was like “killing two birds, with one stone” for lack of a better analogy.

For my grandparents, George and Hattie Byer, it made the season that much more special. We all knew when they got married. From their kids on down to the great great grandkids, we knew, because it was a story that was passed down to every generation and an event that was celebrated every Christmas eve. It was something that made Christmas extra special. Just knowing that the whole family got started on Christmas eve was so very cool, and I think that for many years, we thought we were the only family to have such a special Christmas eve. We weren’t, of course, and in fact, every year other people get married on Christmas eve. Many people think it’s a great day for a wedding, and for those forgetful husbands, a difficult date to forget.

For the rest of the world, Christmas eve is a day to prepare for the morning, attend Christmas eve services, and set out the cookies and milk. Then it’s a matter of trying to get the excited children to go to bed, because they will want to be up by 6:00am…if not earlier!! Before we know it, Christmas will be over, except for the opportunity to reflect on the real reason for the season…our Lord and Savior…Jesus Christ!! Merry Christmas Eve, and happy anniversary in Heaven to my grandparents. Have a wonderful day all!!

My niece, Toni Chase has had a wonderful year with her family. She and her husband, Dave went to Florida in May. By going early in the summer, they dodged the major tourist season, and were able to enjoy a nice, peaceful getaway. It’s probably good that they had that quiet getaway, because when they got back to Casper, they were very busy helping with her son, James Renville and his wife, Manuela’s wedding…which was beautiful, by the way.

Toni’s life has taken a wonderful turn, with the addition of her beautiful daughter-in-law, and watching her son be so very happy. James and Manuela are happy, and for a mom, there is nothing better than knowing that. James and Manuela are beginning their new life together, but they still find time to spend with the family. Whenever they are around, the family dogs, Cricket and Biscuit are on cloud nine. In fact, Cricket loves playing “third wheel” with the kids. It’s like they are triplets, and Cricket thinks the kids are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work. Having planned two myself…plus my own, I know. The parents need a vacation as much as the happy couple does. After the wedding, Toni and Dave took a trip to Colorado for a concert at Red Rocks. They also went to Aspen at the beginning of fall. Toni and Dave love to travel and spend quality time together. They have such a great marriage, and it’s so sweet to see them together. They lead quiet peaceful lives, hiking, traveling, working, and enjoying their family. Life just doesn’t get any better than that. Today is Toni’s birthday. Happy birthday Toni!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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