My nephew, Garrett Stevens is such a great “girl dad.” He reminds me a lot of my own dad, Al Spencer, his grandpa. These guys have proven that they know how to shine in a house full of girls. Garrett and his daughter, Elliott are always doing projects together. Elliott loves her daddy so much, and she wants to do whatever he is doing. As Garrett’s wife Kayla says, “Who needs boys?” Garrett would agree. His “little helper” is right there to help with whatever he is doing, and she does a pretty good job too. Garrett is so patient with her. They have painted together, and while Elliott is inexperienced and drips paint on the floor, Garrett never gets upset with her. He knows that painting, like any other work, is a learned skill, and he is teaching his daughter how to paint the best she can. Garrett has always been patient with kids, and his girl is no exception to that rule.

Garrett has been following in his grandpa’s footsteps in another way too…he is a certified welder, and he has been working at EMIT Technologies for a number of years now. All his hard work and dedication paid off a month or so ago, when Garrett received a promotion to Welding Lead. It was such a proud moment for his wife, Kayla, who has watched him work very hard to provide for their family. For him to now have the recognition that he so greatly deserves makes Kayla so happy. She has always been so proud of Garrett. He is able to do just about any “jack-of-all-trades” kind of job, but he really excels at welding. Garrett also has the ability to lead. In fact, he is a natural, and his company saw that in him. Garrett was destined to lead, and so they are very happy about this new venture.

These days, Garrett and Kayla are getting ready to expand their family, and we are all very excited for them. Their precious little one will be arriving very soon, and little Elliott will be a big sister. I know the whole family is excited for this next life step. Having two kids is different than having one, but it won’t be cause for drama in this down-to-earth family. It’s been so interesting to watch Garrett as he has grown and changed through the years. In some ways, like his love of children, there has been almost no change at all, but in others, like have he has grown in his skills, there have been many wonderful changes. When he was younger, I never would have guessed that he would be a welder, but I always saw him as a dad. He was also a loving brother and cousin. His sisters, Michelle and Lacey were so blessed to have him as a brother, and he was very close with is cousins as well. Garrett was the life of the party at family gatherings and was always good for a laugh. His smile could light up a room, as could his laughter. I’m very proud of the man he turned into. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As Spring arrives, many people, including my husband Bob and I, have started thinking about the home improvement projects they want to get done. Depending on what you have in mind, it can be a few minor improvements, or it can be big projects, like room gut-jobs and remodels. Whatever it is, you can count on it being work, because no home improvement project is easy. Still, I wonder if we would consider our own home improvement projects to be a daunting a task as the one that took place on the Woolworth building in New York City.

Retailer Frank W. Woolworth commissioned the building in 1910, which he would name after himself. This was just a year after the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company moved into their 700-foot tower on Madison Square, just a block away from the triangle-shaped Flatiron Building. The Metropolitan Life Tower had become the world’s tallest building at that time, having taken over that title from the New York headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, completed in 1908. Of course, as buildings go and builders follow, the latest “tallest building in the world” is nothing more than a challenge to see who will build the next building to beat the record set by the last building in the category.

Building a super structure is difficult enough, to be sure, but what about when such a structure need something like, a outside paint job. The reality is that it was going to take some great painters…who were very brave, and hopefully, not afraid of heights. This was no ordinary job. Now, I love hiking, and I have been to the top of a few mountains peaks, but I still don’t like being at the edge of a cliff. I have no desire to stand at the edge of a cliff and look down to see how far away it is. That makes me squeamish. Nevertheless, the brave men chosen to paint the top of the Woolworth building years ago, had to have stomachs made of cast iron, and nerves of steel. They not only went up there and painted the building, but they even found time to prove their bravery in pictures while they were there. I don’t know how OSHA would feel about the stunts they performed, but perform they did, nevertheless.

711 W 12th IYesterday, after going out to dinner with my mom and my sister, Cheryl, we all decided to go for a drive. My mom has always loved going for drives, whether it is around town or in the country. As we drove, the conversation turned to the little house we lived in when we first moved back to Casper, Wyoming from Superior, Wisconsin, when I was almost three years old. I don’t recall having seen the house since the time we lived there, and of course, I don’t recall very much of our time there, and most of that is probably from home movies I have seen.

Since we were in the area, we decided to drive by. I must say that I was a bit surprised at how small the house was. I Cheryl Rae and Allen Lewis Spencer at 711 W 12th Stsuppose it was the size of a small two bedroom apartment, or maybe even a one bedroom apartment. The house is located in the back yard of a larger house, and may have been, at one time, a guest house for the much larger home next door. Right now, it looks like it is being used as a storage shed, which makes me a bit sad, because when I think of all the memories of our little family that those walls have seen, it seems a sad end to a happy home. The white picket fence that made for a nice backdrop for pictures is gone now, the sidewalk and steps are crumbling, and the house is in serious need of a coat of paint…but then it is a shed now, so paint is unlikely.

As we drove away, I couldn’t get the little house out of my mind. It seemed such a sad, lonely 711 W 12th IIlittle place. There were no children’s toys, or laughing voices. In fact, there was no signs of life at all. It is included in the yard of the larger house, which is very well taken care of, but it sits like a forgotten ghost, desolate and forlorn. I wished for a moment that I could go in and look around the little house, but I’m sure it would have been more disappointment, and less memories these days. It wouldn’t surprise me to drive by there and see it torn down someday, because it really is in sad shape and probably a hazard, were it not fenced off from the outside world, and certainly not a place of interest to anyone, except the three women who were taking a drive down memory lane.

The WinnerChris' CamaroWhen a person is a hot car enthusiast with their own hot car, the ultimate thrill is winning a competition. For many car owners, the wait for that first win is a long one, but for my grandson, Chris Petersen, that first win came with his first entry. That is such a rare occurrence, that it really is almost unheard of. So often these car shows are won partly on name recognition, and Chris' First Place Trophya first time competitor doesn’t have that recognition. It didn’t matter in this case. They simply loved Chris’ car!! I can understand that, because his car is awesome. Chris and his dad, my son-in-law, Kevin put a lot of work into this car…even Chris’ little brother, Josh helped a little bit. The resulting car is, as you can see…beautiful.

When I heard that Chris was going to enter the 2014 Casper Chrome Virtual Car Show, it never occurred to me that he would actually win it. Of course, I knew that his car was winner worthy, but there were 74 other cars entered in the competition. There were a lot of nice cars and yet, when it came right down to it, the winner was my eighteen year old grandson, Chris. My daughter, Corrie and her family were all just floating. It was such an amazing day for them all. The winner was to be announced at a party on Saturday, April 26th, and the winning car was to be put on display at the party, so I’m quite sure that all 75 entrants were on hand. There were a lot of cars with well known owners, and yet the winner was my grandson, Chris. He
will receive some really cool prizes for his win. Of course, he got the trophy, which is huge by the way. He will also receive a custom Grand Champion jacket, a photo session, so he can have some great shots of his awesome car, and a $250.00 gas card, which is an awesome prize by itself. I am so excited to see the jacket and the photos.
Before & After
I’m sure there will be other car show wins in the future for Chris, but there is just nothing that can ever compare to the way a person feels with their first win. You know that you have worked hard on this. You really had no idea what it would take to make this car a winner…and maybe you never even considered that it could be a winner. You just knew that as the changes on the car took place, and it started to become the car of your dreams, you started thinking that maybe…just maybe, it could be a winner…and suddenly, it was. There you are, Chris, in the Winner’s Circle!! A dream come true!! Congratulations Chris!! You worked hard on this, and we are all so very proud of you!!

Corrie and Kevin Petersen Wedding Day July 17, 1993Kevin 1Kevin, my son-in-law has always loved working on cars. Shortly after their marriage…in fact, on their honeymoon a kid ran into Corrie and Kevin in a parking lot. They were devastated. They had a very nice car and Kevin really loved that car. The kid’s insurance paid to fix it, of course, but Kevin just couldn’t let someone else work on his car. That car was his baby…or at least his second baby. Corrie would tell you that she was his first baby, and that is just the way it is.

When my oldest grandson hit driving age, he wanted a great car…of course, what 16 year old boy doesn’t. Still, most kids don’t really have the money for a new car. So they started looking and found several…and in fact, Chris owned several before he was 16, but when he turned 16, he had his Camaro. It started out white…and pretty rough, but true to form, Kevin set himself to the task of helping his son have the great car he wanted.

Last year on Labor Day weekend, which just happened to include Kevin’s birthday, he was busy painting his son’s Camaro orange…even though he told Chris that the orange he wanted was too expensive and it would have to be yellow. I’m quite sure Chris dreaded that thought. Kevin is such a teaser. Nevertheless, Chris got his orange Camaro, and his dad did the work. It is beautiful.

Then, Chris wanted a bigger engine, and once again, Kevin took on the task of helping his son achieve his dreams. They have spent countless hours in the garage working on that car. It isn’t done yet and I have no doubt that they will be working on it today, once again on Kevin’s birthday, unless Chris is working that is.
Kevin 3Kevin 2
My grandson, Josh will be 15 in a few days, so I know Kevin will finish up with one son, and start working on cars with his other son. It is a never ending story, and Kevin wouldn’t want it any other way…except maybe to add a little fishing with his boys to it. Today is Kevin’s birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a wonderful day…and try not to work too hard!! We love you!!

Raelynn and Audrianna It’s funny sometimes how a child can take on the personality of their aunt, or even great aunt. Such is the case with my grand niece, Raelynn, who is so like my sister, Allyn in that both of them figured out a way to avoid most spankings…without even trying!! When my niece, Dustie told me that a stern look can make Raelynn cry, I thought back to when Allyn was a little girl. When I asked why Allyn hardly ever got spankings, Mom said that it was because just a stern look made her cry. I guess Allyn and Raelynn have both decided to do their best to be good so no one looks at the in a stern way. Hmmm, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a bad idea…wish I had thought of that. One thing, Raelynn…I don’t think you will be able to avoid today’s spankings, because as we all know, birthday spankings are sort of a tradition. Sorry about that…Not!!

Raelynn takes after her cousin, Michelle too, in that she loves art. There are a few artists in ourChristmas 2012 family…I am not one of them, unless you call photography art. I am getting pretty good at that…since the camera does all the work. An artist, however…a true artist, I’m not. We will see where things go for Raelynn. She has been encouraged to explore her artistic side and even has an art desk to produce her art on, and true to form for artists, can often be found sitting at her art desk, humming a tune with paint on her face.

Raelynn is also very much a girly girl, and loves to dress up. I so seldom see her in anything but a dress, that it occurs to me that I don’t even remember the last time. That characteristic, she just might get from me. I love dresses, and almost always wear them to work and church, but Raelynn wears them all the time. I guess she is quite a bit more girly girl than I am. Even when she is wearing pants, most often in the winter, she manages to have the look of a girly girl…even when her brother and sisters are goofing off…Raelynn manages to look all girl and no goof.

Some of Raelynn’s favorite people are her uncles. They and her cousin’s husbands are the Uncle Dave and Raelynnpeople she likes to go and dance with or just sit and talk to. She is very social and likes to butterfly around to everyone to talk and socialize, and of course, dancing is a big part of that. At her cousin’s wedding, Raelynn grabbed her Uncle Dave several times and they twirled around the dance floor. Of course, her all time favorite dance was the one her daddy, my nephew Rob took her to earlier this year. There is just nothing more special to a girly girl that a father/daughter dance. In reality, many of Raelynn’s characteristics come from a lot of us. I guess she is just one of the family. Today is Raelynn’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Raelynn!! We love you!!  Have a great day!!

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