school

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My grand-niece, Zoey Iverson is an active six-year-old girl with a vivid imagination. Zoey is into sea animals like octopus, jelly fish, and mermaids. I’m quite sure that her little girl’s mind can imagine herself diving and swimming beneath the ocean…looking for octopuses and jelly fish, but secretly hoping to find a real mermaid. She might even decide to bring home a starfish or two, because lets face it she is swimming far beneath the ocean and this is all make believe anyway, right.

Like most six-year-old girls, Zoey loves Barbie, and that makes Barbie Live TV on YouTube a big deal. When Barbie was invented, somebody knew little girls and had the right idea, because Barbie has the glamor and the accessories to make every little girl’s dreams come true, but it’s not the only thing Zoey likes to do. Zoey is learning to ride her bicycle. She is using training wheels, but we all know that doesn’t last long. Kids figure out their bicycle and the freedom it provides pretty quickly. Zoey also love to swim in the pool in the back yard. With the heat of the summer, the backyard pool is the best place to be, and this summer has been pretty hot.

Zoey is headed for 1st grade next year. She will be the youngest student in her class, but she is excelling very fast, so she will not be the bottom of the class by any stretch of the imagination. Zoey is a very smart girl, and loves to learn. She loves writing, practicing her letters, and…coloring everything…even the walls. Yikes!! Its a good thing most crayons wipe off easily, and there re good cleaners to help. After all, an artist needs her canvas…wherever it may be. Imagination simply cannot be corralled!!

With summer, the family has been camping and enjoying the scenery. With the Big Horn Mountains nearby, and so many other beautiful spots in Wyoming, the are lots of camp grounds to choose from. Zoey loves to catch bugs with her bug catcher, go swimming in the creeks, and spend time helping her older brother, Lucas, who is special needs. Zoey has been instrumental in his development. We are all very proud of her. She loves Lucas so much, and he loves her. That might be the reason she is doing so well in school. Teaching others is a great way to learn. Today is Zoey’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Zoey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

You never know when you might meet that perfect companion…the one who could easily become your forever love. Sometimes, that is the case, as with my niece, Lacey Stevens, when she met that guy who is just perfect for her…Chris Killinger. Their meeting was a complete accident…no, not like a car accident, but an accident nevertheless. Chris needed to get his hair done, and his regular girl was unavailable, so she suggested he go to Lacey. Well, you might say the rest is history. Lacey would never “steal” another hairdresser’s client, but Chris tells Lacey that he was instantly attracted to this beautiful new hairdresser that he had stumbled upon, and he felt a connection right away. He certainly wasn’t going back now. In fact, he was totally going forward from there. He asked Lacey out, and they have been an Item since that perfectly accidental day. Lacey gained a new client that day, and I’m sure her friend didn’t really mind that things worked out the way the did. Sometimes you get to be a matchmaker, and when you do, it’s very cool. Chris has been Lacey’s client ever since! When Lacey decided to spread her wings and go into business for herself, Chris has been very supportive. He has helped with advertising, and the other things it takes to get a business off the ground, and that has been a big help for Lacey.

Somehow, it’s not surprising that Chris and Lace met. Lacey’s mom, my sister, Alena Stevens went to school with Chris’ Uncle George, so she was surprised when Lacey told her the name of her new guy. Lacey’s sister, Michelle Stevens and her fiancé Matt Miller went to school with Chris, so they knew him too. It seems like he was on Lacey’s radar, even if she (and he) didn’t know it.

Chris is a great dad to his kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon, and they have been a great addition to the family too. Lacey has one niece, Elliott Stevens, and she just loves her new cousins. Chris has done such a good job raising these sweet children. They are all a perfect fit in the family. We can’t help but love them already. Chris is kind and gentle, which is perfect for Lacey who is such a gentle person herself. That same kind gentleness applies to how he is with his kids too.

Chris loves spending time with his family, and with Lacey’s family. He didn’t grow up camping as a kid, so he really enjoys family camping adventures with Lacey’s family. He’s learning all about what camping entails. It’s new to him, but he is excited to continue to grow and learn and give his kids that experience too. It’s going to be a great experience for all. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand nephew, Ethan Hadlock is all of 12 years old, but he is already growing like a weed. Every time I see him, it seems he has grown several inches. Like most boys, Ethan is very excited about his growth spurts, most of which made him taller than some of the women in the family. At 12 years old, Ethan has passed his cousin Liz Masterson, and the next growth spurt will find him passing me…he is only half an inch shorter than I am now. I am fighting a losing battle, if I think I will be taller that Ethan for very long, but it’s ok. In reality, I knew he would get taller than me, because he is a boy who will be a man, and he comes from a tall family. Ethan’s grandpa, Chris Hadlock is 6’4″ and his dad, Ryan Hadlock is 6’3″. Ethan is projected to pass both his dad and his grandpa. It is expected that Ethan will be 6’5″, so he will very likely be the tallest person in our family. Time will tell, I guess.

Ethan, like many young people is very computer-minded. Ethan has discovered coding, and he really likes it. I can relate to that. I like computers and to a small degree coding, but Ethan really likes it. He is thinking about starting a programming/gaming business with his best friends Sam and Carter…at 12 years old. The truly amazing thing is that he would not be alone in starting a business at just twelve years old. There have been others who have done the same thing and ended up being very successful. Ethan played some sports in the past, but he has decided that sports are not very important to play anymore. Ethan would rather build robots and small computers instead. Like most students who love computer programming, Ethan understands the need and value of a good education, and he very much loves school. He is an excellent student, and works very hard at his studies.

Ethan is a sweet young man with a tender heart. Many kids, especially boys, don’t show emotions much, especially to their aunts, great aunts, and elders in general, but Ethan is an exception to that “rule.” Every time I see him, he is quick to come to tell me hello, and give me a hug. He always makes sure that I feel loved and respected. What a wonderful young man he is. I love his tender heart. He is loyal to his family, especially his grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and his little sister, Aurora. He is growing into an exceptional young man, and he makes us all proud. Today is Ethan’s 12th birthday. Happy birthday Ethan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Aurora Hadlock is such a sweet, happy girl. She has a zest for life, and most often sees the good in everything. Her positive outlook on life always keeps her upbeat. This year with it’s long Covid Summer has given people lots of extra time to spend together, and when the quarantine lifted, the family began doing a lot of camping and four wheeling. The family has traveled to the Black Hills twice this year, and Aurora’s favorite site is Mount Rushmore…a favorite of mine too. The Black Hills is a family favorite place.

Aurora wants to be a police officer when she grows up. She comes by this decision naturally, because her grandpa, Chris Hadlock is a retired Casper Police officer, and her uncle, Jason Sawdon is a Wyoming Highway Patrolman. Being a police officer is a noble calling, and her desire to help people is inspiring. She wants to keep the public safe, and I really respect that. She may only be 9 years old, but this career decision has been with her for a long time. She had the opportunity recently to sit on the motorcycle of a Casper Police officer, and she was so excited about it.

Aurora is very excited about going back to school. Like many children, who were thrust into unexpected online learning, Aurora did not like it at all. The coming year has left her a little bit apprehensive, however, because her big brother, Ethan will not be in her school. He has moved on to middle school. Another missing face is will be that of her great aunt, Alena Steven, who retired at the end of last term. Nevertheless, Aurora is tough, and she will tackle it head on. I’m sure that by the end of the first week, she will be totally fine with the coming year.

Aurora is an artist, and wants to start her own business, selling her paintings and drawings. This is also a goal she comes by naturally, as her mom, Chelsea, who has a business of her own selling jewelry of her own design at the Comic Con Conventions. Starting your own business is not an easy thing to do, so having the experience of her mom and her successful business will be a great help. Aurora’s dad, Ryan has been helping her with a special project…but that is not finished yet, so I’m not going to give it away. That will be a story for next year, and one I am looking forward to sharing. Today is Aurora’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Aurora!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

For a deep thinker, like my grand niece, Anna Masterson, being an introvert is usually par for the course. Introversion can be overcome, but it is not easy, and really takes a concentrated effort. Anna has been working on being more outgoing over the past year. That has not been very easy with Covid-19. She has been faithfully going with her mom, Dustie Masterson, every week to the laundromat. That can be a major accomplishment for an introvert. I know I am much the same. Dustie really appreciates Anna’s help because they get through the work quickly. For Anna the surprise was that she has made a friend there, which was a surprise for Dustie to see, because Anna does not talk to people she doesn’t know. Even more surprising was that it was a boy, an act of bravery on her part. Not surprising that the boy wanted to talk to her, because Anna is a cute girl. Still, she stayed very close to her mom while she talked to him for a while. Nevertheless, pretty soon she was talking to him across the laundromat! Amazingly, it was her mom who had a hard time letting Anna go across the room. It was just such an unusual feeling to have her normally clingy daughter moving so bravely out into the world. Dustie wants Anna to come out of her shell, but watching the process was not easy for a mom who has felt the need to help her shy daughter in the past.

The end of the school year was rough for Anna. Covid-19 really put a damper on those, like Anna, who really love school. She got up on her own every day on time and went to her online classes. She didn’t have to be told, she chose. Still, it’s not the same as going to school, and even for an introvert like Anna, being around people she knew was important, and she missed going. It was very responsible of her to get up on her own, because her parents, Rob and Dustie both work, they are glad she was so good about getting up with an alarm. Anna and her best friend, Julie, both play the violin in orchestra, and that has had to go by the wayside too. I know they both miss it very much. For them, and all the kids I pray Covid-19 ends soon.

Like many people, Anna and her sister, Raelynn are both into Comic-Con, and this year, both girls plan to go, as it will be held outside to allow for good social distancing. The girls are so excited about going. In the meantime, Anna and her siblings, Raelynn and Matt, have been spending a lot of time together, which could have been a problem, but they get along pretty well, so they have tried to keep things light and fun.

Anna surprised her mom in another way this year. Before this year, Anna was not really interested in cooking, but she has decided that she likes to cook and be creative in the kitchen. This has been a wonderful mother/daughter time for both of them, and Dustie has really enjoyed teaching her daughter all about cooking. It has brought them even closer. Today is Anna’s 13th birthday. Happy birthday Anna!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandnephew, Lucas Iverson, like the rest of the American school children, has had a very unusual school year…one that ended long before it was scheduled to. For most kids, while the missed ending of the school year was not good, for Lucas, it was really more detrimental than the normal student. Down Syndrome means that Lucas needs structure, and for him, that is school. Nevertheless, I think his parents, Cassie and Chris Iverson, did an excellent job of teaching their two children. Because of Lucas’ condition, Cassie and Chris have had to be very “hands on” in his education. Lucas is thriving in his mixed schooling situation, and that is largely to the credit of his parents, who have been teaching their son from his birth, Lucas had some challenges that made early training essential.

I love looking at pictures of the Iverson family. Zoey has been her brother’s champion for the time she was old enough to know her brother was there. She always makes sure that he is included in the activities. It’s not like her parents would leave him out of things, but she has decided that it is her responsibility, so she does her thing. She encourages him to always try harder. She was instrumental in his learning to walk, but more importantly, Zoey has been instrumental in letting people know that her brother can do more than he or anyone else ever thought. Zoey sees an open book where Lucas is concerned. She has no doubt that he can do anything he wants to do. She makes sure he knows that she has confidence in him. She loves him very much.

With schools closed, Lucas and Zoey have been having a sort-of camp/school in their neighborhood. Their mom calls it “Sidewalk School.” It is when the teacher or other volunteer comes to the home of the children, and holds class, outside. These sessions are such a good idea, because so many kids need a measure of student/teacher one-on-one time, and this is a way to do it safely, and effectively. Normally, one-on-one time is a part of the normal class time, but since the school’s are closed, one-on-one time has been thrown out along with the regular class time. I’m just glad that Lucas has so many people in his life, who have picked up the pieces to help him stay on point. Today is Lucas’ birthday. Happy birthday Lucas!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

With the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent shut down of much of our country, including the schools and many businesses, Americans have faced many challenges…among them, the loss of many sports, at least temporarily. Now, as the country begins the reopening process, sports of all kinds have taken on a different look. Slowly, the summer sports are getting started again. The stands are empty, because social distancing doesn’t permit people to sit so close as they would sit in the stands. The coaches, and reluctantly, the parents decided that it was more important to let the kids play, than to wait until the parents could watch. It has been a similar story in all areas of sports.

For the professional sports, many changes had to be made. A new kind of baseball, Nascar, football, and many other types of sports. Sports had to be reinvented…or a lease the spectator part of sports had to be reinvented. Some sports have missed their opportunity for this year, and they are holding out hope for a real season next year. Even the news was different, because normally after the news and weather, came sports. The sports was still there, but there were no games to recap. We heard instead, about future plans, college draft choices, and the fact that there would be no sports for the time being.

It wasn’t just the professional sports either. Bowling alleys closed weeks before the end of the leagues’ schedules were finished. League officers waited, hoping to get back in time to finish the season, but it was not to be, so reluctantly, they divided the prize money based on the standings at the point when the bowling alleys closed. most prize money was mailed out, but a few waited until this past week so they could meet for the purpose of distributing the funds.

As Memorial Day approaches, it seems that the annual car shows have also fallen victim to the Covid-19 shutdown. That is a sad thing for many people, my husband, Bob being one of them. He practically spends the whole weekend looking at the cars. This time, like so many events this year, will be different. No car shows, little travel, no graduation ceremonies (at least not in the normal sense); just the official end to the school year, since it unofficially ended at spring break…the longest spring break in history. No one failed, and we have no idea how far behind they will be next year, or what returning to school will look like for sure. All we know is that like sports, life reinvented…will go on.

My niece, Jenny Spethman has had a normal, average life by most standards. She has been a stay-at-home mom for much of her marriage, and has just recently started a part-time job at a law firm here in Casper, where she is a runner for the attorneys and legal staff there. This is an exciting time for Jenny. As any stay-at-home mom knows, being around kids for hours and hours every day, can bring a parent to the point of just wanting another adult to talk to. It wasn’t about the money really, although that comes in handy too. It was about doing something useful now that her children are in school…something new and interesting. I think that her new job is perfect for her, because there are so many new things to do, interesting people to be around, and legal procedures to learn.

Jenny’s exciting new job is something to celebrate, but there is so much more to Jenny. She is one of the strongest people I know. Jenny’s life hasn’t been perfect. She and her husband, Steve lost their daughter, Laila in 2010, and then gathered their strength and tried again, having their 5th child, Aleesia just 9 months later. After having three sons, they had wanted a daughter, and that made Laila’s passing more devastating. Nevertheless, they now have their rainbow baby in the form of daughter, Aleesia. Having another child after loss is a show of strength in itself, but that is not the only way that Jenny’s inner strength presents itself.

Jenny is a strong student of the Bible. She listens to God’s leading and receives revelations knowledge on so many matters of importance. Jenny is an early-riser, and loves to spend the early morning hours in Bible reading and Christian meditation on the Word. Her focus gives her strength on a daily basis. Jenny and Steve are united in their faith, and have learned to lean on God in all situations. Even with all they have gone through, it is often Jenny who is there to lift up others who are struggling, grieving, or just unsure what to do. We are all very proud of her strong, supportive ways, and we all count on her often. Today is Jenny’s birthday. Happy birthday Jenny!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My great grand-niece, Alice Green is the bonus baby of my grand-nephew, Jake Harman. She is her mother, Melanie Harman’s daughter from a prior relationship, but for Jake, Alice completes his family. She was his first child, coming into his life before the younger two kids, Izabella and Jaxx. They became best friends right away. Alice was never one to be angry about Jake’s entrance into her family. I think she viewed him as the best bonus dad she could have ever asked for. I love to see their smiling faces as the play together, and with the other kids. They seem to have a similar sense of humor.

Alice is an amazing big sister, and her little sister and brother really look up to her. When she was in school, I think the house felt a little bit lonely, especially for Izabella, who thinks her sister is awesome. Jaxx wasn’t really as aware, but he will be this year, because both Alice and Izabella will be in school this year. Alice is going into 2nd grade, and Izabella will be in pre-school. Jaxx is an easy going guy, especially with two older sisters, but I know he will really miss them this year. It’s hard for me to believe that Alice is going into 2nd grade this year. Though I have not know her all her life, she was a shy little girl when I first met her, so seeing the confident 2nd grader she has become is amazing to me. She has really become friends with the whole family now.

Alice has a great smile, and uses it often. She has a great sense of humor, and loves to entertain her siblings, which is a huge help to her parents. She loves school, and is a good student. It seems like it was just yesterday that she was graduating from Kindergarten, but in reality, that has been over a year ago already. How can that possibly be? Our Alice is growing up so very fast, and I can’t imagine our family without her in it. She is a sweet little girl, who has brightened out lives at every turn. Today is Alice’s 7th birthday. Happy birthday Alice!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

To hear my grand-nephew, Jake Harman talk, his wife Melanie has become “meaner” since their marriage, but of course, I know what a jokester my nephew is, so I know he’s kidding. Melanie is a very sweet girl, who is very loving and kind to Jake and everyone else around her. In fact, I think it is probably Melanie’s kind and patient ways that have made Jake into the man he is today. You see, if either of them has changed, it is Jake…and it is pretty much all because of Melanie. Jake is so happy these days. He feels so blessed with the life he now has. These days Jake has a daughter, Izabella and a son Jaxx, plus a bonus baby Alice, all of whom he loves very much. And it’s all because of Melanie, and the great love she has for Jake and their three children.

Melanie is all about her family. She is a great mom, who is feeling just a little bit sad, as school approaches. It’s not that she hasn’t been through the child in school stage, but now she will have two in school. Alice is going into 2nd grade, and Izabella is going into pre-school. While she will still have Jaxx at home, it just feels like so much is changing…so very fast. It is somewhere around this point that a mother starts getting a little bit sentimental. She’s missing her babies before they are even grown. In her heart, she knows it’s coming…and coming fast.

Melanie’s heart is with her family, but it is also with the Lord. She sings with the worship team at their church, and also helps with the youth ministry, which Jake heads up. Melanie is in charge of the games for the youth. Much is changing at home, but that isn’t the only pace. While Melanie will be missing her girls during the day, she is going to be busy, because she is also going to school…for worship study. She’s already a part of the worship team, and directs the youth singing, and helps Jake with the youth, but her dream is to be the worship leader for the whole church. It’s a lofty goal, but one I think Melanie can accomplish. The biggest part of reaching that goal is having a love for the Lord and for the work He has for you. Today is Melanie’s birthday. Happy birthday Melanie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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