big horn mountains

My sister-in-law, Debbie Cook is an expert craftswoman. In her lifetime, she has made many, various gifts and items to sell, that she handmade with love. Many a baby has a sampler with their name and date of birth on it in cross stitch that is cherished by the child and its parents. Many is the person who owns a quilt made by Debbie’s hands. She has also done sewing through the years, making clothes for her girls, Machelle and Susan. Debbie, along with her parents, Walt and Joann Schulenberg and her sister, Brenda Schulenberg, had booths in many craft fairs over the years, though in recent years craft fairs have somewhat dwindled…a sad thing really, because they provided awesome, and sometimes one-of-a-kind, gifts for many people to give to loved ones.

In the years since she quit participating in craft fairs, Debbie has enjoyed camping a lot. Since her husband, LJ Cook retired, they have been able to go camping a lot more than they could before. In fact, they would probably live in the Big Horn Mountains all summer, if not year round. Of course, their girls, Machelle and Susan probably wouldn’t like that much, because they wouldn’t get to see them as often as they do now. Not that life doesn’t make it difficult, because everyone is busy, but if their parents lived in the mountains, it would be harder to go visit. For Debbie, living in the mountains wouldn’t hinder her hobbies much, because much of it can be done anywhere.

Debbie loves being a grandma, and enjoys spending time with grandsons, Weston and Easton Moore, and granddaughters, Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith. These days, since the kids are all getting grown up, they are a big help to her and LJ too. She used to spend more time with the kids, of course, because when they were in school they often came to her house after school, but now the older three are driving, so there is no need to pick them up or babysit them. It is always sad when the active grandparent days are behind us, then we must wait for the great grandchildren to begin to come. Of course, we still have our grandchildren, but we don’t have the babies, and I think that makes every grandparent a little bit sad.

As life goes on, Debbie and LJ are looking forward to many more years of camping in the Big Horns with their family. They all love to camp as a group, sitting around the campfire at night just enjoying the warmth and !!comradery, as well as the occasional moose that strolls through the camp. They used to go hunting, and liked getting the wild meat, but they haven’t really done that in a number of years. Now they hunt with their eyes, looking for the best specimens, but not shooting them. In that, they have had great success. Today is Debbie’s 68th birthday. Happy birthday Debbie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Kelli Schulenberg is an outdoorsy girl who loves pretty much everything about nature. She is very into sports like hiking, skiing, biking, snowshoeing, and camping. She and my nephew, Barry Schulenberg have been doing a lot of camping, taking trips to the Big Horn Mountains, the Black Hills, and Alcova Lake, where they enjoy boating too. They take their bikes and do a lot of trail riding or hiking the trails in the area. Their dog, Scout rounds out their hiking and biking group most of the time, although, Kelli’s mom, Mary Wages joins them sometimes as well…especially this year, when Mary was forced to evacuate her summer camping site in Colorado, due to the wildfires there. Kelli and Barry were relieved that she was safe here with them. Having a parent in harm’s way would be an awful situation.

All that exercise can make the downtime very important. Some people have a hot tub, but Kelli and Barry decided to buy a dry sauna for their house last winter. Winter isn’t Kelli’s favorite time of year, so having a dry sauna at the house must be just like Heaven to her. Kelli has already used it a few times this year. I think I’m jealous. Kelli and Barry have a place in the country, and it is their sanctuary. In the summer of 2019, Barry put up a sun shade at their house, and bought a hammock to hang from the sun shade frame. Kelli has been enjoying both a lot. The hammock is a great place to read a book or just relax. Kelli works hard and plays hard, so being able to relax is a really important part of life.

Recently, Kelli’s bicycle met with an unfortunate end, when it fell over in the garage and made its last brave stand against the wheel of Kelli’s vehicle, which was too tall for her to see the bicycle laying in her path. It was a really sad day for Kelli, because she loves to ride her bicycle. Barry felt so bad for her, but it gave him and his mother, Jennifer Parmely a great idea for Kelli’s birthday gift, so they looked them over and picked out a pretty blue bicycle for Kelli, which she was given this morning. She loves the new bike, and has already taken it for a spin, thanks to our having no snow at the moment. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Steve Moore loves to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains, and takes his family up there often. They hike the area in search of rocks and artifacts. Steve is an outdoor kind of guy, and is in his element when he is in the great outdoors. It’s not that Steve can’t do other things, but the great outdoors is just where he feels most at home.

Steve and my niece, Machelle Moore have two sons…Weston, who is 20 years old; and Easton, who is 16 years old. Of course both boys drive these days, and anyone who has ever owned a vehicle knows that they need occasional maintenance and repair. Most of the time, a vehicle can go a long time before needing repair, but for the Moore family, lately it seems like every vehicle needs something. Steve has been quite busy with multiple maintenance projects of the various vehicles. Unfortunately, while Steve can work on vehicles, he really hates working on vehicles. He has fixed brakes and rotors on the truck he and Machelle own. Then Weston’s new truck needed so work done. After that Easton’s car needed a power steering pump. And just when he thought he was done, Weston’s truck needs work done on the steering and tie rods, because the tires are wearing fast. Then, Steve and Machelle’s other truck needs some work in that sale department, because it’s a little squirrely on the road. Their Tahoe needs the same things as Weston’s vehicle. It’s not as bad as Weston’s, but they need to get it done before they have to get new tires too. They fully understand that vehicles need work, but it would be nice if things to happen one thing at a time. Thank God, that has been the way it was, or Steve might have been worn out completely.

In between all the mechanic work, Steve and Machelle have been able to get fire wood this summer. They have been getting wood for Machelle’s parents, LJ and Debbie Cook too. This year they were able to get everybody enough wood to get through the winter, even enough for LJ to hang out in the garage tinkering on his projects; and for them to hang out by their fire pit too. Steve is a great son-in-law, a great husband, and a great dad to his family. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Steve Moore is such an outdoorsy guy. Every summer he and his wife, my niece, Machelle spend as much time in the Big Horn Mountains as they can. In times past, their boys, Weston and Easton, always went too, but now that they are older, that won’t happen as much. Easton still goes, but Weston works, so he often can’t come along. It is just a part of life. Easton will go less and less as time goes on too.

Part of camping involves gathering firewood, both for the camp, and for home. Steve and Machelle often camp with her parents, Debbie and LJ Cook. The guys always do a lot of wood cutting. Steve and a friend of his, did some trading this year, and Steve came away with a chain saw. He has been having a great time using that saw. I can understand that, because my husband, Bob Schulenberg always loved using his chain saw too. Boys and their toys, you know. Age doesn’t matter. Little boys have their toys, and when they grow up, big boys have their toys too. They are just different kinds of toys.

Normally, the wood haul is used at camp, with the leftovers taken over to Machelle’s parents’ house for their fireplace. Now though, at least since Machelle’s sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Josh Griffith, got them a firepit for Christmas last year, some of the wood goes to Steve and Machelle’s house too. Steve loves having camp wood handy! This past summer, they were able to get more wood, and it didn’t even seem like work with the chain saw. LJ figured they got him about 5½ cords this year…in addition to what they got for themselves. He should have plenty for this winter. It had only taken a few hours of one day, and then they had the rest of the weekend to hike around the mountains. They were even able to find new places to hike!

When Steve and Machelle hike, they like to look for great rocks, which reminds me of my own grandfather LJ said there used to be an old dump around there. It wasn’t a good hunt, some pretty rocks, but not much more. So, they headed back to camp with plans to go back someday soon.

Steve and Machelle may not have their boys on as many camping trips in the future, but they will do ok with that, because they are such soulmates. They have been since they met, and it is so obvious to anyone who knows them. These two are very much in love. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Steve Moore is one of the most at home in the mountains people I know. He and his wife, my niece, Machelle love sending time in the Big Horn Mountains near their home in Powell, Wyoming. Their favorite thing to do there is to go exploring on new trails or roads, in areas they haven’t explored before. This past summer, while exploring such an area,the came across a cabin. It was in such a beautiful setting, and of course, it heightened their desire to have their own cabin in the mountains, which I truly believe they will have one day. They had seen the road to the cabin before, and that day, they decided to go see where it led them. I think that if anyone I know could live off the grid, it would be Steve and Machelle. Steve is extremely handy when it comes to building things, and living off the land.

Last winter, Steve decided to build a gun. It is a 22 Dasher. Steve has a Labradar Witch, which is a devise that tells you how fast your bullets are going. He can measure the speed, and decide if he wants to add or subtract gun powder for reloading. The gun shoots accurately, and Steve got a couple few Rock-Chucks this summer on the mountain. While it is a great gun, it isn’t one that you want to have to pack very far, because it is pretty heavy. Their youngest son, Easton got to shoot Steve’s 1911 for the first time this summer. their older so Weston is four years older, and so has been shooting or a while now. Their ideal camping sot is one where nobody else is around for miles, so target practice can be done from camp. Another thing Steve likes to do in camp, is experiment with the fire. Of course, he is careful, but he can say for sure that discarded bacon grease will make the flames flair up nicely.

Steve got a chainsaw from a really good friend last year, so firewood is never in short supply. He never has to be asked twice to go to get some firewood for camp, or for his father-in-law, LJ Cook’s garage. In fact they have so much now, that he had to tell us that’s enough…for probably the whole next winter. Te way Steve and Machelle see it, better to have too much, than not enough. Needless to say there is also always enough firewood for camp too! Camping is a way of life for the Moore family, and this summer they tried to go someplace different, instead of always doing the same things, in the same places. They had a great time exploring new roads, hiking around, and just enjoying each others company. It was great while summer lasted, but they said that it sure went fast this year. Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

imageMy nephew, Chris Iverson is a dedicated dad. When his son, with his wife Cassie, was born with Downs Syndrome he stepped right up to the plate. Lucas was his boy, and that was the greatest thing ever. Chris and Cassie have also taken up the cause to bring awareness to the world about just how amazing these children are. Lucas is such a happy boy, and while he can have his moods like any other kid, he smiles a lot. I think that is partly due to the amazing parents he has. Of course, becoming a big brother this past summer was great for Lucas and his parents too. Chris and Cassie’s little girl, Zoey arrived right on schedule and she thinks her big brother is pretty great. She thinks her parents are great too.
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Chris loves the outdoors, and wants to teach his kids to love it too. He and Cassie like to go camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Chris loves to fish and just enjoy the great outdoors. I’m sure that as time goes on, he will be teaching his kids the ropes, thereby setting the stage for the next generation of nature lovers. I can’t blame Chris for loving the great outdoors, because I feel the same way. My big thing is hiking, and I don’t really know if Chris shares that with me or not, but to each his own. I’m not into camping. I guess that after spending the day hiking in the woods, I want the comforts of a motel. Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for people who get out and rough it.
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One of the things I like the most about Chris is that he is a patriot. These days, we need every patriot we can get. With the government trying to take our rights away from us every day, America needs people who will stand up for those rights, whether it is fighting or being very vocal about what is going on. Either one takes real guts, and Chris has guts. We really need more people like that in our country these days. I like that Chris stands up for our country. He is a good man, dedicated dad, good husband, and a patriot…what more could a family ask of a man. Today is Chris’ birthday. Happy birthday Chris!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Machelle Cook MooreMy nieces, Machelle Cook Moore and her sister, Susan Cook Griffith have both always been very sweet, loving girls. They have tender loving hearts. Machelle is the older sister, and there are five years between the girls, but they are just as close as they can be. Both of the girls love to go camping and to be outdoors in general, which is nice for their families. The summers are filled with trips to the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming, which is where they live.

It is there, however that many of the similarities between the girls end. Machelle and her husband, Steve have two sons, Weston and Easton, while Susan and her husband, Josh have a blended family with two daughters. I have found that when a woman has just sons, her life is much different than when a woman has just daughters. That is an observation that I have made from my own life, because I also have two daughters and no sons. Boys tend to change a woman…even if Sisters (2)she is a girly girl. There is simply a culture shock that comes from having a house full of men. Maybe it is the same for the fathers of just daughters, and in reality, I’m sure that is true, but since I am a woman, I can’t speak to the culture shock a man of only daughters really feels, other than outnumbered. But then again, I’m sure that the mother of just sons, feels the same way. I know my own daughter, Corrie Petersen feels outnumbered a lot. I’m sure that Machelle has the same issues, and the older the boys get, the more they like to tease their mothers. That is a guy thing for sure.

Life with boys is rough and tumble, and in many ways a little bit gross. Because that is what boys do. It is filled with spiders, snakes, bats, and toads, or at least some kind of a mixture of these and more. The mother never really knows what she might find in the pockets of her little…angels. She can never be 100% sure that they won’t completely embarrass her with their noises, because to them that sort of thing is…well, funny. For most Kissing Mommygirls, these kinds of things would be more embarrassing to the girl than to her parents…not so with boys. With boys, all bets are off, and their mom had better expect the unexpected…at all times. I know that those who have boys know exactly what I’m talking about.

Machelle and Susan are alike in many ways, but their lives are very different. I know that they wouldn’t trade their lives for anything, but I’m sure that they’ve had a few conversations about just how different their lives are too. I don’t think either of them could fully believe the differences unless they see it for themselves, however. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Mountain ManPeople joke about being tired after they retire, or at least that is what the hats all say, but I don’t really think that is the case most of the time. After all, let’s face it, when you are retired, you can sleep in as long as you choose, and if that still isn’t enough, well, just take a nap in the afternoon. I think that most retired people get up early, because of that afternoon nap. Seriously, there are only so many hours that a person can sleep. I don’t know if my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook is one of those early risers, who nap in the afternoon, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Many retired people head south for the winter, or travel all over the country during the rest of the year, but for Lynn, and my sister-in-law, Debbie, the big draw that retirement held, was camping in the Big Horn Mountains. Their idea of a relaxing time is being in the quiet of the mountains, preferably with just the birds and other wildlife as neighbors, unless their kids come up to join Campthem, that is. During the summer months, they will stay in the mountains for weeks at a time, unless some specific thing requires them to come back to town, and back to reality. I think lots of people would call that a little slice of Heaven on Earth. I would have to agree that being in the mountains is most likely right where I would want to be too, but Bob and I would most likely not want to camp out, however. We like to hike, and then we want the comfort of a motel room…at this point anyway.

Since Lynn used to drive truck for a living, and was always on the road, long term travel doesn’t really appeal to him much, but the short drive to the Big Horns is something he really likes. He is getting a little better about other travel on occasion now too, but as far as I know a long trip means driving from Powell, Wyoming to Debbie & LynnCasper, Wyoming…not exactly what most of us would consider a long trip, but it’s a pretty big step for him.

Since his retirement, Lynn has become more and more of a mountain man than ever before. I think there was always a bit of Jeremiah Johnson in him, but since he would live on the mountain in a tent these days, he seems more and more so. Even then, I can’t exactly blame him. I would love to have a cozy cabin in the mountains where I could hole up sometimes…especially when the responsibilities of life get a little too overwhelming. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

19250_102234259806044_4460089_nSometimes in life, you find that something is just meant to be. This is a story of just that…something that was meant to be. A while back, my niece Lacey Stevens introduced her brother, Garrett Stevens to a friend of hers, Kayla Smiley. That was the first step in a journey that for Garrett and Kayla would lead to happily ever after. They became engaged in a romantic setting in the Big Horn Mountains, with the involvement of her family, in which Garrett popped the question on the top of a hill while the fmily was taking pictures. Kayla had no idea. Good job Garrett.

For the rest of the family, this relationship has been a bit unusual, in that Kayla lived right next door to our mom’s house. I suppose that many people would feel like that could be a bit awkward, but not Kayla and Garrett. In fact, it was there that Kayla’s true self was shown to all of us. Kayla is a very caring person. She gives of herself easily, and that was exactly what we needed at that time in our lives. During Mom’s last couple of years, there were a times when an ambulance had to be called, because she was having some occasional bronchial issues. That is such a stressful thing for the children, especially when one child, in this case, my sister, Cheryl Masterson had to be there by herself at the time the ambulance needed to be called. Kayla, the instant she heard the ambulance, came right over to see what she could do to help, and if for no other reason, just to be there and be supportive to me sister, my mom, and to me as well. If you have never been in the position of needing to call an ambulance for your parent, you simply can’t know how devastating that feels. You find yourself forced to watch the proceedings, and there is nothing you can do to help. All too often, the emergency workers are so focused on their patient…as it should be, but they have no Garrett & Kaylatime to see you standing there quietly falling apart. Kayla…and Garrett too, while they were as worried as we were, came to support us as we went through this horrible ordeal. That is a kindness that can never be forgotten, much less repaid.

We knew that Garrett had found a gem of a girl, and so when he called to say they were engaged, it was with much joy that we congratulated them. They are both such sweet, loving people, and I know that their life together will be blessed in so many ways. God will repay their kindness with joy and love for years to come. I am so excited for them. Today is Kayla’s birthday. Kayla we just don’t know what we would do without you in our lives. Happy birthday Kayla!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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