Kids

My niece, Cassie Iverson is a patient, loving mother of two beautiful children 6 year old Lucas, and 2 year old Zoey. She loves to go camping with the family, and they go as often as they can, because Cassie is a photographer, and is drawn to the beautiful side of life. Much of her photography is of nature, which appeals to me very much, as a nature lover too. Good photography requires an eye for staging. It’s strange to thing of staging the shot for nature, but things like what is centered, how much to zoom, and good lighting are vital to taking a great picture. Cassie has that eye for staging, and so her pictures come of beautiful and they draw you into the scene.

She takes pictures of her children and of other people too, and she has a great eye for staging those photos too, but her real love for photography lies in photographing nature. It makes perfect sense, since she loves to be camping more than living in town. She and her husband, Chris like to fish and camp out with the kids…showing them all the beauty that nature has to offer. While she loves photography, Cassie’s kids really are her whole heart.

Her son, Lucas has had some medical issues over the past few years and so now the family is looking to move to a bigger city where the necessary medical facilities are available. They have looked in Montana, Colorado, and Tennessee. At this point, it looks like Tennessee might be the best place for them, so they are hoping to move sometime this summer. I know that many people in the family would rather have them in Montana or Colorado, but that may not be feasible. Time will tell I guess, and we will have to see where they land. Of course, if they move to Tennessee, we will all miss them, but thankfully Facebook can keep us in the loop with their lives. The most important thing for the family is to be near enough to good medical care for Lucas, so they don’t have to travel every time he needs surgery or other treatments. One thing that is for sure, this move, no matter where it takes them, will open up a whole new world of photography vistas for Cassie. I can’t wait to see the pictures she will take now. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For my grandnephew, Xander Spethman, there is a specific tradition that goes along with his birthday every year. He gathers his friends together for a party. Now, I know that you are thinking, “What’s different about that?” Well, the difference is that they build a fire in his parents fire pit, and the boys burn their schoolwork from the year. Having a birthday so close to the end of the school year, it works out really well to have a school work burning party. This year will be slightly different, in that he will be burning the last year of his middle school career. As a boy, I don’t suppose that fact stirs up the emotions, like it does for his mom, but maybe it brings a bit of sadness that a certain time in his life has come to a close. Nevertheless, this has been a year of lasts. He has played his last middle school football game, and his last middle school basketball game. There will be a last time in the old school, and the last time (for awhile anyway) that he will be in school with his brother, Zack.

Of course, Xander is still very close with his family. He and his dad, Steve are best friends, and he is always so sweet to his mom, Jenny. He and his brothers, Zack and Isaac are also good friends, and his little sister, Aleesia is his little princess. His parents and siblings come to any and all his activities possible. It is a family tradition. Always be supportive of each other. Of course, that doesn’t mean that he and his brothers don’t fight, or that his sister never gets on his nerves, but Xander takes being the oldest very seriously. He works hard to be a leader and a good role model. And he does a good job of it too. His younger siblings look up to their brother and view him with a sense of pride. He shows them the right way to do things. Kids look up to their older siblings, and it is very important to make sure they are getting the right message from their older sibling, or they can end up in a lot of trouble down the road.

While this year is a year of lasts for Xander, it is also a year of firsts. This will be Xander’s first year of high school, Its a major change in a student’s life. Before long graduation will be right around the corner. This year has found Xander with a girlfriend, and to my knowledge, that is his first. He has signed up for ROTC, and I know he will do well with that, specially in the area of shooting accuracy, since Xander has been trained to be a great shot by his parents. Probably the biggest new thing in Xander’s life, however, will e the fact that since he is now 15 years old, he will be getting his driver’s permit, so he can learn to drive. of course, his parents are excited to him to learn to drive, but they will also need to realize that they will most likely be relegated to the passenger side of the car…at least when Xander is in the car, because as we all know, 15 year olds need to drive!! There are a lot of changes coming his way, and we are so excited to see where life takes him next. Today is Xander’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Rob Masterson has been working at Sam’s Club in the Tire and Battery Center since August 1, 2017. Rob had not been able to work for some time, due to health issues brought on by his time in the service. The VA really wasn’t helpful to him, and after 4 plus years of waiting for them to decide on disability status, he’d had enough. Rob and his wife, Dustie were both unhappy with their current situation. Her job was not fulfilling, and they took her for granted. Then, Rob and Dustie basically stumbled on their jobs, and they will tell you that it was the best kind of accident to have. They were shopping at Sam’s club when they saw that Sam’s was hiring. They filled out the online application, and first Rob was called, and then Dustie. They were so excited to find that they would both be working at the same place. As Dustie puts it, “It’s amazing being able to work with your best friend. You know all the same people at work for the most part, and even though most people might find it weird to be able to discuss work and both know exactly what the other does, for us it’s just natural.” They did their orientation together, and both started on August 1, 2017. Rob actually started working before he completed the orientation, because his boss came in and said, “I need you now!” He would have to complete his orientation later. Rob, who has Rheumatoid Arthritis, was a little nervous about how his knees were going to handle the work, but he says that it hasn’t been too bad. Rob and Dustie prayed about his knees and ask for strength to be able to handle the work, and God answered their prayers.

He applied for one transfer within the store, but didn’t get it and Dustie says, “I’m glad. When the position opened up to be the team lead over Tire Battery Center, I knew it was a perfect one for him.” I think they didn’t give him the first position, because they knew he was a great asset to the Tire and Battery Center, and they didn’t want to lose him. In the short time that Rob has worked at Sam’s, he has proven his worth. Dustie says that Rob is so nervous about being a supervisor again, but what he doesn’t realize that he is doing a great job. The people that he works with and the people that work for him have nothing but respect for him, and vice versa. He treats everyone equally and with respect. You can see that he is so much happier…though more tired now, but she doesn’t think he will give it up…ever. He takes pride in his work and it shows. From sweeping the floor and taking out the trash to making sure the tires are correct in size and mounted properly. I think that Rob has always loved tinkering on cars, and so this was right up his alley.

Rob even has his special clients…the ones who ask for him, and who don’t want anyone else to work on their vehicle. One of them is a cute older woman who will not allow anyone else to work on her car, but Rob. Apparently her husband just recently passed away and he was the one who took care of everything on the car for her. When Rob helped her with her car, she was so relieved that someone truly cared, that she teared up. Dustie says, “I couldn’t be more proud of my husband. He is such a wonderful man and he’s making a lasting impression on this Earth and in Heaven. I couldn’t agree more. Today is Rob’s birthday. Happy birthday Rob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Sometimes, you think you know something about a person, and then you find out how little you knew. I have always known that my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens was a big sports fan. He likes pretty much any sport, and is good at some of them too. He likes hunting and fishing, and camping with his family. These are all things I knew about my bother-in-law, but that is not all there is to Mike Stevens.

Mike likes to garden and takes great pride in his yard looking the best in the neighborhood. Now a lot of guys want their yard to look the best in the neighborhood, but few of them care about the garden, produce or flowers. He plants, tomatoes, peppers and after his son, Garrett moved to Sheridan last summer, and left him with zucchini and cucumber plants, Mike has taken on both of those too. When Garrett had to move he left the plants that he had planted in buckets with his parents, who tended to them the rest of the summer. Some of them made it and some did not. Nevertheless, when Mike had to plant the zucchini in the ground because it got too big for the buckets, Garrett’s plants found themselves adopted. Now, Mike is gearing up to start planting his garden again this year.

There has been one minor hiccup in the whole process, however, because Mike has had some unwanted visitor’s, in the form of a family of rabbits, in the back yard, that he thinks might decide that that his precious vegetables would make an ideal lunch. So…Mike has become an Elmer Fudd like stalker with his Red Rider BB gun. Every day he get’s his BB gun out and tip toes to the door of the back yard. He get’s his aim and inevitably the “Wascally Wabbit” will hear him and scamper away. I guess Mike and Elmer both have about the same luck with those wabbits. As long as the gun doesn’t blow up on Mike, like it does on Elmer…I guess. That doesn’t make either Mike or Elmer feel better, I’m sure. I know this much, winning against the rabbits is a tough job, and even with screens and fences, those darned rabbits will dig. I guess that the BB gun is his only hope. Today is Mikes birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The first time I met my grandniece, Katy Collett, she was a little girl. She was a sweet little girl, who was well behaved, and we all liked her very much. Through the years, Katy has grown into a beautiful young woman, inside and out. Katy is “mom” to two dogs, Bubba and Sheiba, and loves them very much. She and her husband Jake live in the country outside of Casper, Wyoming, so that her babies have plenty of room to run around. Being big dogs causes them to require lots of space. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Katy and Jake love the outdoors, hiking, 4-wheeling, and such.

While Katy loves her dogs, her heart is full of being an aunt, first to Jake’s nephew, and then to her bother, Keifer and his wife, Katie’s daughter, Reece. Katy is a wonderful aunt, doting on the kids as often as she can, and I’m sure they totally love her too. It’s all a part of her caring nature and love of kids. Kids can tell when adults really like being around them, and they warm up to them right away. Of course, I think that Katy will spend a lot of her time wrapped around a certain little girl’s little pinky, because that is what those babies do. They wiggle their way into your heart, and you are lost forever.

Katy and Jake, like most of us, love to travel and they have taken at least one trip to Florida, where his family
lives, for a visit. Hitting the Florida coast in mid April is really the perfect time. You can get away from the cold spring weather that still persists in Wyoming at that time of year. Being outdoor people, they prefer the weather in the spring and summer so that it’s more comfortable to get out and do things, and enjoy nature in the warm weather.

Katy is so sweet and loving to all the people around her, and it has endeared her to all of us. I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, but when we do see each other, it is always a pleasure. Her beautiful smile lights up a room. Today is Katy’s birthday. Katy, I hope your day is as awesome as you are. Happy birthday Katy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Andrea Spicer is a person who is known for her caring, generous nature. She is always willing to help or a friend or family member in need. Once when a friend of hers left her wallet in a restaurant while they were traveling, Andrea offered to take her all the way back the next day and she would have done it too, but the group decided to turn around and go back right away. This kind of act is not foreign to Andrea, but is rather is something that Andrea is well known for. It doesn’t matter if she’s at work or with friends. Andrea has a caring heart and she lets everyone know that she is there for them.

Andrea has worked for the last couple of years at the Turnbuckle Lounge in the Best Western Hotel. She is a cook there and everyone who is are there agrees that she is a great cook and an easy employee to get along with. She lives her job and in reality has always been very interested in cooking. She loves serving people her creations and the watching them enjoy the food she has made. It is another way that her caring nature can come out. Sometimes, showing people how much we care, is displayed in the nutritious food we make for them.

Of course, the most important thing in Andrea’s life is her son Topher. He is her reason for getting up every day. He is her reason for doing her best in everything she does. Topher puts a smile on her face with his sweet ways, and his silly sense of humor. He makes he smile and he makes her laugh. Topher is, in many ways, Andrea’s best friend. They love to do things together, because they are very close. Sometimes, I think that Andrea, like most parents can’t believe that Topher is becoming a grown up young man, but he is. Time refuses to stand still, and Topher is almost a teenager, but he is. For Andrea, it has been a wonderful life. Today is Andrea’s birthday!! Happy birthday Andrea!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Jessi Sawdon began her working career in the legal field, as a runner in an attorney’s office. Most kids don’t really have that opportunity so early on, but Jessi was blessed and she was a great employee. She continued on in the legal field until the attorney she was working for at the time retired, and then she decided that it was time for a change, so she went back to school. She has been studying, and together with her husband, Jason and been raising their little girl Adelaide. Being a stay-at-home mom has been very important to Jessi since the birth of her little girl, so I’m sure that going back to college to start a new career was little bit scary too…mostly wondering what a job would bring as far as her mommy life was concerned.

Today, with her studies behind her, Jessi has achieved her Associates Degree in Human Communications, and just started a new job as the Marketing Coordinator for Hinge Studio Marketing and Communications. The business is owned by two of her very good friends, Kerstin and Leah, and the really good news is that Jessi will be working from home. There is nothing better that to have bosses who are also your good friends, and who understand your needs and are willing to work with you to make your mutual dreams come true. I think there are a number of people who would love to be in Jessi’s shoes when it comes to their job, because you don’t have to give up your time with your children for your job. Now I call that working it out!!

Today, with commencement upon her, Jessi is looking forward to marching with her class to receive her degree, and we are all so very proud of her. The studies are behind her now, and it is smooth sailing ahead. Jessi, we are all so proud of you and of all the hard work you have do to achieve your goal. Now with a new career ahead of you, the best is yet to be. Congratulations on your graduation, Jessi!! We love you!!

A while back, while looking at historical pictures, I came across one that bore an amazing resemblance to my grandson, Chris Petersen. I realize that a lot of people say that some people remind them of other people, but even my family agreed that this young man looked like Chris at that age. I have no idea who this boy is, or if he is related to Chris, because the picture doesn’t tell his name…just his occupation, which was quite interesting. The boy is, what is known as, a Powder Monkey. I had no idea what that was, and after doing some research on it, I’m thankful that powder monkey is not an occupation we have today, and thankful that my grandson never had the opportunity to be one. To me, it seems like a very dangerous occupation.

Powder boys were used during the 17th century on warships. A powder boy or “powder monkey” manned naval artillery guns as a member of a warship’s crew, primarily during the age of sailboats. His chief role was to carry gunpowder from the powder magazine in the ship’s hold to the artillery guns. Sometimes he carried bulk powder and other times he carried cartridges, to minimize the risk of fires and explosions. The function was usually fulfilled by boy seamen of 12 to 14 years of age. Powder monkeys were selected for the job for their speed and height. They needed to be short so they could not be seen, and could move more easily in the limited space between decks, while remaining hidden behind the ship’s gunwale, thereby keeping them from being shot by enemy ships’ sharp shooters. Some women and older men also worked as powder monkeys. I realize that this might have seemed like a good idea, but as a mom and grandma, I would be terribly worried if that were my boy on one of those ships.

While the Royal Navy first began using the term “powder monkey” in the 17th century, it was later used, and continues to be used in some countries, to signify a skilled technician or engineer who engages in blasting work, such as in the mining or demolition industries. In such industries, a “powder monkey” is also sometimes referred to as a “blaster.” It seems that just about any occupation that carries the name “powder monkey” is a dangerous one. As to the boys who did this work on warships, well…their bravery is amazing. They must have see death around them. They knew the risks. Still, they saw a need, and knew that their contribution would help their country. They were patriots, and as with any soldier, they have my respect. They should never be forgotten, because they were soldiers too…in every way.

My grandnephew, Zack Spethman is a great kid, but he is quickly growing up and is hardly a kid anymore. Today he became a teenager, and is just about to finish his first year of middle school. That put him back at the same school and his brother and good friend, Xander. The share many activities, likes and dislikes, and their similar personalities. Football is the sport above all sports for them. They love to watch and play. It is a family tradition. The three Spethman brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac rising up through the ranks of school football. It keeps their parents busy with all the games.

Of course, football isn’t everything in their lives. Zack loves to climb mountains, play pool, and shoot guns…everything from air guns, to paintball guns, to real guns. He is a good shot and goes to practice with his family often, but he also knows about gun safety, and has passed the hunter safety course, so he can go hunting. Still, while hunting is a great adventure, the boys love combat competitions. They love to strategize the ways to dominate and “take out” the other team. Zack and Xander tend to pool their strategic resources to obtain the victory.

Zack’s dad, Steve Spethman decided to remodel the family kitchen earlier this year, and the boys got to learn about construction by helping their dad do the work. They were very attentive and meticulous about the work, and they learned a lot about the construction business. Their dad is a great carpenter, and a great teacher, so they learned from the best. They often work with their dad, and he is teaching them the value of hard work. Their parents have also taught the kids to be responsible for each other and for their little sister, and this is a job Zack takes seriously. He can often be seen encouraging his siblings and assisting his little sister, Aleesia. They are all very close.

Zack is such a sweet, kind young man, and we are all proud of him. He is loyal and loving to his family, and helpful to all in need. He is always there to give a hug or a word of encouragement. He is a good student, and is responsible. When he says he will be somewhere, he is. That was never more clear that when he was given an award for the best attendance in football last year. With his winning attitude and awesome personality, I know Zach will go far. He is a blessing to those who know him. Today is Zack’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Zack!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Bowen Parmely is a sweet little boy, who is the youngest of his parents three children, and their only son. That means that Bowen spends most of his days living in a largely female world, at least when his daddy, Eric Parmely isn’t home. Nevertheless, that does not mean anything, because Bowen’s mommy, Ashley Parmely, and his sisters, Reagan and Hattie are farm girls. They do all the things that farm girls do, from mucking the stalls, to feeding the animals, to stacking the hay, and any other things that need done on a farm. There is not much possibility of raising a sissy boy when he is being raised around tough women like his mom, and even his sisters, who are barely past toddler age themselves, and yet they are experienced farm girls.

Bowen’s upbringing has been a bit unusual in that while he couldn’t exactly help out on the farm, he could observe, and learn by doing so. As is typical for kids, work can look like fun…and can even seem like play. Kids like to mimic their parents, and younger siblings like to mimic older siblings, so just as his sisters learned the occupation of farming, so will Bowen. He has watched his sisters work with the animals, feeling somewhat cheated because he didn’t get to “play” too. Then, when his sisters were in school or otherwise occupied, his mommy would put Bowen in a backpack carrier, and they would go and do the work together. As I said, Bowen’s mommy is tough, and while everyone thought I was tough with a baby in a front pack and a baby in a backpack when I went shopping, looking at Ashley, I don’t think I was so tough. Carrying around a baby, who is growing as fast as Bowen has, while doing farm work is beyond tough, if you ask me.

As Bowen has grown, and learned to walk, he is becoming more of a help around the farm. Of course, he may not be as much help as his mommy and daddy would like, and certainly not as much help as he will be as he get older, but every good worker had to start with that first little job, then as they grew, so did their responsibilities. Bowen will become an amazing little farm boy as time goes on, because like his parents, he will learn to love that lifestyle. I have no doubt that Bowen will grow up to be as big a help on the farm as his older sisters have. He can’t help but turn out great with his parents training. Today is Bowen’s first birthday. Happy birthday Bowen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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