My grandniece, Kaytlyn Griffith has shocked me with how much she has changed this year. I saw a picture of her with her family, and she is almost as tall as her older sister, Jala Satterwhite. What??? When did that happen? When I think of Kaytlyn, an 8-year-old girl comes to mind, but that was six years ago, so I need to catch up. The funny thing about kids is that for some reason, when they move from elementary school to middle school, suddenly this older kid emerges where a child once was, it seems.
Much has changed for Kaytlyn and her family with year, because her older sister moved out after graduation, leaving Kaytlyn the only child at home. That has been a strange change for the whole family. While Jala has her own place now, she and Kaytlyn have actually gotten a little closer now. Their mom, Susan Griffith told me that they even hug now, and that was totally tabu before, and they never hugged before. Even going camping is very different these days. It has usually been Kaytlyn’s mom and dad, Josh and Susan, and her sister, Jala, but this past year was just Kaytlyn and her parents. Jala was working, and in general, doing her own thing. One thing about being the only child at home, is that you get your choice of bedrooms, and so often the oldest child has had the “best” bedroom, but now, Kaytlyn has decided that Jala’s room was fair game, so she moved in there, and is feeling very privileged to have the best.
Kaytlyn is more than just a good student. She is an Honor Roll student. She loves school and has worked very hard at the goal of carrying a 4.0 GPA. She is extremely close to that goal now. She loves math and getting 100% on a math test is pretty common for this smart girl!! Kaytlyn was also a Covid middle schooler, in that she started middle school (6th grade) in the fall of 2019. Of course, we all know what happened next. The first few months were ok, but by Spring Break, Covid-19 had changed everything about school as we all knew it. The whole middle school experience was different than any of us ever could have imagined for that class. Kaytlyn went to one dance in 6th grade before all this started, and then her class didn’t have another dance until a few weeks ago. So, since 2019, she has only gone to two dances. It is sad, because Kaytlyn and her class have missed out on so much.
One consolation…for Kaytlyn anyway, is that because her family lives far enough out in the country, she can qualify for a “Hardship License.” For those who don’t know, that is for certain people who live far enough in the country that it puts a hard ship on their parents, so the state will let them start driving a year before the other kids. While middle school was sort of a “bust,” Kaytlyn will be starting high school in the Fall…and she will be driving. We can only hope that she has a better experience with high school than she did with middle school. Kaytlyn has worked so hard, and she deserves a great year. Today is Kaytlyn’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! we love you!!
My grand-niece, Raelynn Masterson, is growing up…right before our very eyes. Suddenly, Raelynn is 18 years old…an adult. Covid had an effect on Raelynn, like it did every student, except those who were exclusively online. Many students have chosen to do things differently now, and Raelynn is one of those. So, this past year, she switched from Natrona County High School (NCHS), to our third high school, Roosevelt High School, and not only does she love it, but it has been the best for her learning style. NCHS is a large school, and so there are larger classes, meaning that each student has less individual time with the teachers. The online classes showed Raelynn that the one-on-one time was important to her. NCHS also has longer class times, and alternating daily schedules, where Roosevelt uses the old method of the same daily schedule and shorter class times. Either schedule works, but Raelynn’s personal preference is the old style.
Recently, Raelynn started a new job, her second, at Walgreens, which is where her mom, Dustie Masterson works, but not they are at opposite stores. Raelynn is at the westside and Dustie at the eastside store. Raelynn got tp work once at her mom’s store, and mid-August, Dustie is going to help out at Raelynn’s store. They get along great, so working together, even if only occasionally is a lot of fun. They both have the same sense of humor, and they don’t get embarrassed about some of the goofy things I (and Dustie) have posted online about them. They both love to be silly, and it’s rather a no-holds-barred situation when it comes to teasing. Being a “good sport” is a must when they are teasing each other.
Raelynn has not been in a hurry to learn to drive, in fact she didn’t even start to learn until this past year. She is taking it slow to make sure her really has a good handle on it. There is no sense in rushing and then immediately having your first accident. There are a few kids out there who start out driving like “an old lady,” and never really change that. I think I would rather see a prudent new driver, than one who scares everyone who is in the car with them.
Turning eighteen and graduating from high school next year, Raelynn is looking to the future. She knows that she wants to get her own apartment after high school. She already has a friend in mind to be her roommate, so that’s good. She also plans to go to college. She is a good student, and she wants it all. She has a couple of ideas on what she wants to study, but nothing that has been nailed down enough to say for sure. Nevertheless, she is planning ahead, and that makes Dustie and Rob (Raelynn’s dad and Dustie’s husband) very proud.
Planning ahead is one thing. Having the cool things you want in life is another, and while Raelynn is saving and planning, she did spend that whole first check on…well, her mom doesn’t really know, but stuff she needed, apparently!! Nevertheless, once Raelynn sets a goal, nothing is going to stop her. Dustie says, “She reminds me a lot of me, but much sweeter. She must get that from her dad! This year marks her as an adult but when I look at her I still see my first little miracle (quite literally) from God. He must have known better than me what I needed in my life.” I just couldn’t have said that any better. Today Is Raelynn’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Like most kids, after they graduate from high school, my grandnephew, Weston Moore’s mind turned to getting a place of his own. So he found some friends and they got a place in May of 2020. Of course, we all know that 2020 brought with it some hardships in the area of working and spending time with family. While Weston was able to keep working, it just seemed prudent to move back home where he could spend more time with his parents, Machelle and Steve Moore, and his brother, Easton. I think everyone would agree that it was a good idea, especially his family, who all missed him very much. Not to mention the fact that at that time, none of us knew how bad Covid would or would not get, so Machelle ad Steve felt much better having their kids both at home.
Weston had been driving a little car, but during the time he was living on his own, he managed to save enough money to get himself a better vehicle. He knew he wanted an SUV, and had considered a Suburban, but in the end, he purchased a Yukon, which he is very happy with. He found it right there in Powell, and so didn’t have to travel to get it. Now that he has found his dream ride, Weston has begun to get it “tricked out” with a few new items to make it special. He added LED light strips, subwoofer, amp, stereo, and has a light bar that still needs to be installed. He also put on new brakes and rotors on the back, new tie rods on the front. Even though he has a sound system that could blow out the windows, Weston is very courteous about where he is at and what time it is, so that he doesn’t disturb people. Even his own mom has only heard it a few times. Weston has a big heart and will do anything for anyone!! When his grandma needed a ride to Cody the other day, and his grandpa, who recently had surgery, wasn’t ready for such a trip, Weston volunteered to take her. Of course, on the plus side, he got to drive the new car for a longer distance than just around town. Everybody likes an occasional road trip.
These days, with Covid heading downhill, Weston has started to think about moving out on his own again. He has a couple friends that have recently moved to Montana, and so he is thinking of moving there too. He has begun the job hunting part as well, because he doesn’t want to just move and have no plan. Of course, for his family, this will bring about the whole “missing him” thing again, but Montana isn’t too awfully far away, and they can make some weekend trips to see him. This will be a great new adventure for Weston, and something he will never forget. He might as well take the leap while he is young, knowing that he can always move back to Powell later on if he doesn’t like Montana. And it isn’t so far that he can’t road trip home. I know he will miss his family and cousins, but it will all be a great learning experience too. Today is Weston’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My husband, Bob Schulenberg is truly the love of my life. God blessed me with my husband while I was still in high school. I know I’m not the only person ever to meet their future spouse in high school, High School Sweethearts can be a common term among married couples, and in fact, I personally know a number of just such couples. Our meeting was that type exactly, however. While I was still in high school, Bob wasn’t, and we attended different high schools anyway, so it wouldn’t have been that type of romance exactly…even though the schools were in the same town of Casper, Wyoming, we might never have met even if he was still in high school. No, it was God’s plan…all the way, and that makes it all the more wonderful.
As each year passes, I am more and more amazed at the number of years we have been married. At 18, you can barely consider age 50, much less fathom 46 years of marriage to this 20 year old man to whom you have just said, “I do.” We knew nothing of the world. We were barely past childhood ourselves. In fact, I can’t believe how young we looked back then…like babies. Nevertheless, God blessed me with the perfect man for me. We are largely opposites, but they say that opposites attract. I think that’s true for the most part. There are interests, beliefs, and traits that we have in common, and they are necessary, because to love someone you must also have things in common with them. I feel very blessed to have things in Common with Bob and things where we are different too. We complete each other, and that really is awesome.
Now that we have started a new chapter in our lives, namely, retirement, we have even more option to spread our wings and enjoy our new lives. Retirement is a very different time in a marriage. Many people wonder if they will be able to stand each other, because suddenly they are spending so much time together. I don’t know about other couples, but Bob and I get along very well, even though we are spending a lot more time together. Of course, the truth is we like each other. I mean, we love each other, but we also like each other. We are best friends. If a couple in a marriage aren’t friends, I think they are already in trouble. A great marriage starts out as a good friendship. I am so privileged to be married to my best friend all these years. Happy 46th anniversary to the best husband in the whole world!! I love you Bob!!
For many years my husband’s Aunt Marian and Uncle John Kanta lived in Helena, Montana. Some of their kids still do, but they didn’t live there in 1935, when on October 18th, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck at 10:48pm. The quake had its epicenter right near Helena and it had a maximum perceived intensity of VIII (Severe) on the Mercalli intensity scale. The quake on that date was the largest of a series of earthquakes that also included a large aftershock on October 31 of magnitude 6.0 and a maximum intensity of VIII. Two people died in the first quake, and two others died as a result of the October 31 aftershock. Property damage was over $4 million.
Helena is a pretty city that lies in a valley in western Montana. It lies within the northern part of the Intermountain Seismic Belt (ISB). I didn’t know it then, but this is an area of relatively intense seismicity. It runs from northwestern Arizona, through Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, before dying out in northwestern Montana. In the area near Helena, it turns to the northwest, where it intersects with the Lewis and Clark fault zone. The Helena earthquake sequence actually began October 3, 1935, with a small earthquake. That quake was followed by a damaging earthquake on October 12th, a magnitude 5.9, intensity VII. That wasn’t the mainshock, however. That one occurred on October 18th, a magnitude 6.2, intensity VIII. A lesser shock followed on October 31st, a magnitude 6.0, intensity VIII, and a further large aftershock on November 28th, a magnitude 5.5, intensity VI. These were just the mainshocks. There were also a total of 1800 tremors recorded between October 4, 1935 and April 30, 1936. The people of Helena either got used to the shaking, which I can’t imagine, or they were terrified with every tremor, which makes more sense to me.
The damage to the unreinforced buildings of that era was widespread, with more than 200 chimneys destroyed in the city of Helena. At that time, little was known about reinforcement of buildings in earthquake prone areas. The northeast part of the city, where buildings were constructed on alluvial soil, and in the southern business district, which contained many brick buildings, saw the strongest effects. Alluvial soil is highly porous, which would explain the soil liquification that took place. The most extensively damaged building was the Helena High School, which was completed in August 1935 and had just been dedicated in early October. The school buildings, which had cost $500,000, had not been designed to be earthquake resistant. Another building that was totally destroyed and had to be rebuilt was the Lewis and Clark County Hospital. The October 18 earthquake caused an estimated $3 million of damage to property. The aftershock of October 31 caused further damage estimated at $1 million, particularly to structures already weakened by the October 18 shock. Two people were killed by falling bricks in Helena during the October 18 shock. Two brick masons died as while removing a brick tower during the October 31 aftershock.
The Red Cross and Federal Emergency Relief Administration set up emergency camps for those displaced by the quake on land at the Montana Army National Guard’s Camp Cooney. Approximately 400 people stayed there the first night, but most had found space with friends or family outside of the damaged area by the end of the week. Some people were too afraid of continued shocks to stay in a house, and they stayed in tents for the next few weeks. The National Guard was deployed in Helena to keep sightseers away from the damaged buildings, and either because of the guard or the good moral values of the people, there was no looting. It is believed that in today’s world, the damages would have been in the $500 million range.
My grand nephew, Topher Spicer just finished his first year of high school…strange as it might have been. Never before has there been such an unusual ending to a school year, and all because of the Covid-19 virus. We experienced the never-ending spring break, home schooling in families that didn’t intend to home school, and online classes for all grades. Some kids did well, while others struggled with this new reality education. Topher did well. He likes school and learning, and finished his first year of high school with all A’s and B’s. It was something to be proud of.
Topher also had an interesting year, in that he got a job…his first job. Most kids tend to go into retail or fast food for their first job, but Topher managed to land a really interesting job. It has me very impressed. He is working as a tour guide for The Wyoming Frontier Prison. The prison opened in 1901 and could accommodate 104 prisoners. At that time there was no running water, electricity, and very inadequate heating. The 104 cells were in what is now Cell Block A. An addition completed in 1904 added 32 cells. A second addition, adding Cell Block B in 1950, helped alleviate overcrowding. Cell Block C was added in 1966, with 30 cells for the most serious cases. The prison closed in 1987 and became a historic site in 1988…setting the stage for Topher’s first job. Topher, being the innovative guy he is, loves his job, and enjoys making people laugh at the witty things he has come up with for some of the historical information. Many people find history boring, but Topher helps them understand how things were in a very different era, and makes it interesting while he’s at it…now that’s something to be proud of.
Topher is comfortable in his own company. He is an only child, and always finds ways to occupy his mind. He and his mom, my niece, Andrea Spicer, are good friends, and even into his teenage years, they get along very well. Topher is her right-hand man, helping her with things she needs and doing it without complaint…ok, not too much anyway. Topher plans to spend high school building up his art and theatre credits, and then he is considering going to the University of Wyoming, or possibly to South Dakota. I know that whatever Topher decides to do, he will excel at it and continue to make his family proud. Today is Topher’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Xander Spethman like most kids this year, had a challenging school year. He had never planned to be homeschooled. He was used to having his friends around him and all the activities at school. He was used to some level of independence that going to high school offered. Then, suddenly he was at home with his siblings. His parents were often at work, so that also left Xander in charge sometimes. In many kids Xander’s age, that many hours with the younger siblings might have made life miserable for all concerned, but Xander is a kind-hearted young man. He loves his siblings, and they look up to him. Xander tried to be a lead-by-example kind of person. That makes for a much more harmonious household, whether the parents are there or not.
Xander and his brother, Zack have become best friends. They share a love of long boarding, and now they go as often as they can. He is also sweet to his other siblings, Isaac, and little Aleesia, who thinks her brothers “hung the moon,” a fact that is obvious by the way she looks at them. Xander is a very loyal person. He is also protective of his family. He is an amazing big brother, who always takes time to help with whatever his little brothers and sister need. Xander has demonstrated many leader qualities, that have been beneficial to his siblings and his friends alike. Xander’s mom, Jenny attributes those attributes to being the oldest child, but I disagree. Being the oldest doesn’t guarantee leadership. Those leadership qualities come from several sources, not the least of which is good parental upbringing. It also comes from something inside a person that says, “This is the right thing to do, and that is not.” It is about being settled in the right things to do, and it’s having a determination to do what is right, even if it is the harder road. Xander has that determination, and his family has become the beneficiary of those good leadership qualities. They are very proud of him.
Xander is a very good example not only to his family, but also to his friends. The leadership qualities Xander displays to his friends, cause many of them to seek him out when they need advise. Unlike many situations where kids are advising kids, which can be catastrophic in their misguided advise, Xander is a very good counselor to his friends. He has a strong sense of right and wrong, and doesn’t like it when he sees anyone being mistreated…a very important quality in a time when “bullying” has become the norm in schools. He always helps anyone who asks and tries to look out for everyone. That is the kind of friend, and brother, everyone is proud to know. Today is Xander’s 17th birthday. Happy birthday Xander!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As another child turns 16, so another child is behind the wheel. My grand-nephew, Easton Moore has reached that milestone year of his life. Easton is the younger of my niece, Machelle Moore and her husband, Steve. It’s hard for me to believe that Easton is 16 years old already. It seems like just yesterday that he was born. That is the way most parents feel about the time their child turns 16. Easton will be getting his license soon. They have to have 50/hours of day and 10/hours of night driving to do before they can get their license. He is almost there. Something new has helped Easton, that his brother, Weston didn’t have the use a driving app. They didn’t have that when Weston was learning. This years lack of snow has hampered Easton’s snow driving experience, but the past two weeks has made up for the winter’s lack of snow, so Easton is catching up fast. Machelle tells me that Easton is really improving with practice. Strangely, Powell, Wyoming, where Easton lives has just now started plowing the streets. Shocking for Wyoming.
Easton signed up for a welding course at the college that he is super excited about. The Boces program, which stands for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Has made many college classes available to high school students. It’s a great way to give these kids a chance to get ahead in their college education, and to make sure that the course of study is the career move they want to make. Easton is still is not sure what he wants to do after high school, but taking that class might open some doors for him.
Easton is actively looking for a job, so he can save for a car. He has a stack of applications to fill out and hand back in. Easton is motivated to help whenever anyone needs help. He just jumps up and just does it!! That says a lot about his character. Today is Easton’s 16th birthday. Pretty soon we will all need to get off the sidewalks, as a new driver hits the road. Happy birthday Easton!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grand nephew, Topher Spicer is a typical teenager who like to hang out with his friends. They like to go long boarding and walking around. Topher loves long boarding, and he is very good at it. He is always practicing his moves, and that leads to greatly improved skill levels, but that doesn’t mean that the only thing you need is practice, because that isn’t true. Lots of people practice things and some still have no talent. It takes a certain amount of talent. Topher has talent.
Topher’s talent doesn’t stop at the long board though. Topher is an artist. He does his drawing on the computer, but the drawing is all him. I’ve tried to draw on a computer, and believe me that is also not where my talent lies. People who are artists have the pictures in their head, long before they appear on the paper or the screen. Art takes a number of forms too. Photography is an art, but not everyone can take a photo that anyone would call art. Topher has a pretty good eye when it comes to photography, and one of his favorite subjects is his dog, Buttercup. Buttercup is a silky terrier, and like all pet parents, Topher loves his Fur Baby. They hang out together, and Buttercup is totally content doing whatever Topher wants to. It doesn’t get better than that, does it.
Topher is going into high school this year. The thing I notice the most about Topher is that he is getting so tall. His mom tells me that he is polite and smart, and always makes her so proud. He is a good student, and is looking forward to the cool things that high school will bring. High school is a turning point for kids. They get to spread their wings and start to decide where they want their lives to go. It’s going to be an exciting year. Today is Topher’s 14th birthday. Happy birthday Topher!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When I think of my grand nephew, Weston Moore, graduation is not usually the thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, that is the next big step in his life. It seems like just yesterday that my niece, Machelle Moore and her husband Steve became the parents of their first child, and now he is looking forward to college and his future plans. It is at this point in a child’s high school career, that they become very ready to be done with high school. They are grown up now, and high school is just in the way of their future.
Weston has decided to pursue a career in the Culinary Arts, and so last week he went to Sheridan, Wyoming to check out the culinary school there. He was very impressed and is excitedly considering going there. That is also the school where my grandson, Chris Petersen, Weston’s 2nd cousin studied, so he can give him a feel for the school and such. Chris really enjoyed his time there, and learned a lot, so I know Weston will too.
Weston likes sports, and is really good at them too. He has played football, as well as other sports, and right now, he is in track. His events are Discus and Shot-put, both of with take a good degree of strength. He did very well in Discus recently for a personal best. He was very happy about that.
Weston has not always enjoyed camping, but last summer he went camping with the family a few times. His mom said that he was a big help when it came to moving the big logs. While camping wasn’t always his favorite thing, he also knows that with graduation, it will be harder to do things with his family, so he really wanted to spend come quality time with them. It seemed a bit strange to have him on the trips, but they were sure glad to have that time up there with him and no cell phones to compete with, since there is no cell service in the mountains. While it was strange to have Weston camping with them, it will be even more strange when he moves out of the house and into his own place. There is a big difference between your son being at work and having him away at college. Today is Weston’s birthday. Happy birthday Weston!! Have a great day!! We love you!!