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!!
This year has been a little difficult for my nephew, Barry Schulenberg and his wife, Kelli. Their long-time companion, Dakota, a Black Labrador Retriever dog passed away a few months ago, and they were feeling very sad. Anytime you lose a pet, there is period of time that must pass before you feel ready to have another pet. It’s different for everyone. Dakota went everywhere with Barry and Kelli. He was their hiking and camping companion….always happy to be right there beside them. Dakota was always waiting at the door to greet them when they got home from work. Dakota was like their child, and he had been with them all of their married life. It’s hard to imagine life without your pet, because the reality is that your pet is a part of the family…a big part of your family.
After that kind of loss, there is always a grieving period, before you can possibly move on and find another dog to adopt into the family. Barry and Kelli took their time. healing at their own pace. They did the normal things they like to do…camping, hiking, target practice, and just spending quiet nights at home. Soon though, it became clear to them, that something was missing. It was time to fill the void left behind with Dakota’s passing. That is a big step for any pet owner. It’s hard to open your heart to another pet, after losing one that was such a big part of your life for so many years. So, after some soul searching, Barry and Kelli decided to take to plunge, and adopt again.
They went to see what was available, and came up with a male Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix. For a while, their new “baby” didn’t have a name. They wanted to see what name might fit him. Before long, the puppy became a Scout. He always seemed to be at the alert, as if scouting his next move. Barry and Scout became inseparable. Scout loves to hang out with Barry, hoping to receive the scratching and petting that all dogs crave. Scout even loves riding around on the 4-wheeler with Barry. They say that a dog is man’s best friend, and Scout is definitely Barry’s best friend…with the exception of Kelli, of course. I know that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship for Barry, Kelli, and Scout, and I think Dakota would be happy too. Today is Barry’s birthday. Happy birthday Barry!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
When a little girl turns ten, so many things are about to change. Somehow, just hitting those double digit years brings a new maturity that practically happens over night. My grand niece, Jaydn Mortensen, has always been an outdoors girl. She may be just ten years old, but she is not afraid of much. For a while now, she has liked to ride horses and snow ski. She has been a rough and tumble girl who doesn’t mind getting dirty once in a while, but as she heads into her preteen years, I have to wonder how much all that is going to change soon. It seems to be about ten years old, that girls start looking at the world a little differently. They start to think about the kind of girl they want to be…outdoorsy, a girly girl, a sports nut…you name it, the possibilities are endless.
At this point though, Jaydn is still very much in love with horses. In fact her grandma, my sister, Caryl Reed says she is a horse fanatic. She has become so good at her riding skills that she is going to be in an exhibit this coming week at the fair in Rawlins. That’s a pretty impressive thing for a young girl to get to do, and her family is very proud of her and her abilities. She is, of course, the apple of her grandpa, my brother-in-law, Mike Reed’s eye. Those girls just wrap their dads and grandpas around their little fingers right away. She is her daddy, Sean Mortensen’s best helper when it comes to fixing things around their place. And her mom, my niece, Amanda, couldn’t be more proud of her girl.
Jaydn also still loves going to the lake, and at the moment is very much into riding around on their 4 wheeler. I find myself quite impressed with the ability of these kids on 4 wheelers. Having never really ridden them much myself, I am amazed at how a kid who can’t even drive yet, can buzz around on those things like they have been driving for years. Like computers, I guess it’s what the kids grow up with. They don’t have the fears that an adult, stepping into that for the first time, might have. To them, it is almost second nature, and that is certainly how it is for Jaydn. As is her love of her dogs. Jaydn seems to love all animals, so maybe she will choose to be a veterinarian…you just never know.
I find myself looking back on the ten years since Jaydn’s birth, wondering where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday that the little bundle that was Jaydn made her debut into our family. Then she proceeded to wiggle her way into our hearts with her precious little smile and her excited about life personality. When she found out that we were her family, she got so excited, like she had found some new gift to be opened. We don’t get to see her very much here in Casper, because she lives in Rawlins with her parents, but she holds a special place in our hearts, and I can’t wait to see where her life will take her, as she heads into these double digit years. Today is Jaydn’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Jaydn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It seems like most families have one child who is the “cuddly” one. That child who loves to give hugs and kisses, and really wants to sit on your lap and just be with you. It is a mother’s dream. For my niece Jenny, and her husband, Steve, that child is their son Zachary, who is turning 7 years old today. Zack has always loved to hug his family, and it is something that always makes us feel very blessed. Don’t get me wrong, Zack is a tough little boy, and can take on his brothers with no problems. When you are the middle son in a set of three, you learn to take care of yourself…fast.
Like his brothers, and most boys for that matter, Zack loves to do all the boys things. He jumps on the family trampoline, likes to play with cars, and of course, the superhero fighting stuff that it seems all boys enjoy at that age. There is just something about being the super hero that appeals to them, and it seems like they all know about lasers and special wrist guns, spider webs, and the man of steel.
Like the rest of his family, Zack loves the great outdoors, and wants to be out there as much as possible. He has been blessed with a family that loves to get out and play, and that makes life just one big adventure for Zack and his brothers, Xander and Isaac. Their dad is teaching his boys to shoot guns, and be safe at it, of course. They know how to act around guns, and what not to do too, such as any kind of dangerous play with guns. And it doesn’t take summer for them to go have fun, because they totally love being waist deep in the snow up on the mountain. And if they can’t go somewhere, because their dad is working…well, Zack and his brothers will just have their own adventure out in the yard. They have a great tree for climbing, and all of the other boy things that you could ever need to let their imaginations run wild.
Still, at the end of the day, or even part way through it, Zack has to take a moment or two out just to go and give his mom a hug and a kiss, because as rough and tumble as Zack is, he is still his mothers dream boy…her little cuddler, and he loves his mom so much. Really, does life get any better than that? I don’t think so. Happy birthday Zack!! We love you bunches!
Everyone needs time to relax sometimes. Many times, the company picnic is not exactly the place for that relaxation, however, our company picnic today was an amazing way to relax. We are a small company, and the majority of the people who work there are my family members. That in itself is unusual, when you don’t own the business, but that is how it is at our office.
Jim owns the company, and I started working with him in 1996. Through the early years of our time together, it was just him and me. Through the years we added different people, who came and went. Then, my daughter, Amy would come to work with us in 2009, and Amy’s daughter, my granddaughter Shai in 2010. Her son, my grandson Caalab does maintenance around the building and helps Jim with odd jobs. When we decided to get a website, it would be my daughter, Corrie who build that site for us. So you can see that now, even though Jim owns the business, he is surrounded by family…mine, and since we are such good friends, we have informally adopted Jim and Julie, so I guess it is all family. The other people at our picnic, were my husband, Bob, my sons-in-law, Kevin and Travis, my other two grandsons Chris and Josh, Kenny, the person who had done all the construction on our building who is also a friend of Jim and Julie’s, and and another friend of theirs, Sondra.
As I said, ours is a small company, and that was the extent of our company picnic. Now, add to that the fact that it was held at Jim and Julie’s cabin, with the hummingbirds also in attendance, and you have the recipe for a lovely, relaxing time. The hummingbirds entertained us, and we all just sat around and relaxed. It was a day spent in the company of good friends, and it was very enjoyable. Jim took the kids for rides on his 4-wheeler, and they each had a wonderful ride. the rest of the adults sat and visited. After dinner, he finished the rides, and then sat down to visit with the rest of us. We would sit and enjoy the citronella lanterns well into the evening, finally saying good night at about 9:15pm. It was a lovely day. Thanks Jim and Julie.