bragging rights

For my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens, this has been an incredible year. Probably the greatest year since the year his first child, Michelle was born. This was the year Mike became a grandfather to his granddaughter, Elliott Michelle Stevens. Elliott was born on August 3, 2018. Her parents are Mike and my sister, Alena Stevens’ son, Garrett and his wife Kayla Stevens. Becoming grandparents was something Mike and Alena have been waiting to be for a long time to be grandparents, and little Elliott has fulfilled a very special dream of theirs. Mike and Alena are very family oriented, and adding a granddaughter takes their family life into a whole new dimension…a very special dimension.

Mike is a sports fanatic, and loves to share his knowledge with his kids and maybe down the road, his granddaughter. Mike knows a lot about sports, any sports. Not everybody who likes sports, really understand the logistics of the sport, but Mike understands it. Summertime brings different kinds of sports. Mike loves softball, and sometimes is on a team. This year Mike and Alena bought a new 4-wheeler, and they are looking forward to spending lots of time on the mountain riding around on the 4-wheeler. In fact, they had planned a weekend on the mountain for Mike’s birthday, but the weather refused to cooperate…something many of us are disgusted with. Hopefully this spring/summer won’t prove to be ultra-rainy, so they will have lots of time to use their new toy.

Another of the sports that Mike likes is the yearly family camping trip to Boysen Reservoir, where they hold the Stevens’ Family Horseshoe Tournament. The whole Stevens family looks forward to the trip each year, and they really feel cheated out of summer if they don’t get to go. They have a traveling trophy for each event, and it is a fight to the finish to see who will take that trophy home this year. Everyone hates to lose, because to win means that you get bragging rights for a whole year. Now that can be bad for the losers. That said, we wish everyone good luck this year. Today is Mike’s birthday. Congratulations on becoming a grandpa this year, Mike. I know you are loving it. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

AlenaFor my sister, Alena Stevens, her birthday marks the beginning…of summer, that is. Alena is a member of the education support staff at Verda James Elementary School, so by June 2, school is either out for summer, or very close to it. That means that Alena is getting ready for 2½ to 3 months off. It is the kind of situation that many of us wish we had, but few get. That makes Alena one of the privileged few.

Being a definite summer person, who loves the hot, sunny days, having the summers off is really perfect for Alena. Before long she will have a great tan, and will feel relaxed and rejuvenated. The summer will find her spending as much time as possible at Boysen Reservoir, which is a Stevens family favorite summer location. Every year, since 2003, the family has gathered there around the 4th of July to have a big family bash. They hold their Annual Stevens Family Horseshoe Tournament, and it gets heated. They were very competitive, and it becomes a fight to the end…in good fun of course. No one gets angry about the tournament, they just do their best to be the winning team. Afterward, they even have trophies to give out and, of course, pictures to be taken…because after all, it’s all about the bragging rights, until next year, anyway.

Of course, they don’t spend every day at the lake, and for Alena, the summer is time of gardening and fixing up her house to reflect the season that makes her the happiest. For Alena, flowers and her home are her Horseshoe Tournamentartistic canvas. I’ve never seen anyone with more natural decorating talent than Alena. Most people would have to train and study for years, but not Alena. Her talent just came naturally, and I love her ability to make her home decor look just like it came out of a magazine. She was the same way with hair styles. No formal training needed, she could just see what would make someone look pretty, and then she could carry it off. She was our mom’s main hair stylist for many years. I know that our mom really didn’t like to have anyone else cut her hair, and would rather wait until Alena was available. That really says a lot in my opinion. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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