camping

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My niece, Kelli Schulenberg is a country girl, through and through. She loves living in the country and would love to raise donkeys. Unfortunately, right now, she and my nephew Barry Schulenberg don’t have any donkeys, but I think it would be cool if they got some. I know that every little kid in the family would love to ride a donkey or even just feed them. Donkeys can be so sweet. Of course, they can also be stubborn. They are a bit like kids that way, I guess. It’s just par for the course.

Kelli loves country music, and attends as many concerts as she can each year. That said, I guess you know that she has seen lots of country music stars in her lifetime. I’m not sure who her favorite star is and maybe that’s because she has so many favorites that no single singer exactly stands out…at least not to me anyway.

Kelli has two “men” in her life. My nephew Barry, who she married on January 31, 2004, and their dog, Scout…who she calls Sheriff Scout, because he is always on duty and ready to pounce. Of course, about the only thing Scout will ever need to “pounce” on would be a rabbit who is brave (of foolish) enough to get to close, or enter the yard, in general. Scout rules the roost, and Kelli will confirm that story for sure. Scout has tons of toys, and “needs” them all out at the same time…apparently. Scout is a source of joy and laughter to Kellie and Barry.

Kelli loves the outdoors and especially hiking and bicycling, which go hand in hand with the fact that she loves Summer the best. In fact, if it weren’t for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, Kelli would have absolutely no use for Winter at all…and as to the wonderful Wyoming wind…well, she’s definitely not a fan…but they, how many of us really are. Kelli loves the mountains and camping, which is no fun in the winter either, Spring, Summer, and Fall, with a heavy emphasis on Summer is right up her alley. Kelli and Barry go camping as much as they can in the Summer. They especially love camping in the Big Horns, but they also like Colorado for camping places. Kelli is an outdoor girl who loves lots of fun outdoor activities, and all things country. Today is Kelli’s birthday. Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Susan Griffith is a health insurance agent for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and as such she does travel in the state of Wyoming. Recently, she got a chance to travel for pleasure with work, which is a new deal for Susan. Her company paid for the employees to attend a Wyoming Cowboys football game. Susan is not really a fan of football, but she went, because i she was going to support a team, it would be the Wyoming Cowboys, and while he had to leave early to make the long drive home, she said it was ok. Who knows, maybe she will become a football fan, and those free games will be fun for her.

This year has been bittersweet for Susan and her husband, Josh Griffith. Their oldest daughter, Jala Satterwhite graduated from high school this past year, and during the summer, took a job as a guide near Yellowstone National Park. Nevertheless, while she was away from home, it felt like she would be coming home after the season ended. That isn’t what happened, however. When Jala came back to Powell, she moved into an apartment with some friends. Of course, a parent like to see the adult their child has become, but most wish it hadn’t gone by so fast. Every parent who has adult children can certainly understand how Susan and Josh feel.

Susan has also re-taken up cross stitch, and has been turning our lots of cool stuff, so of which has been gifted to her friends. They all feel very blessed by the beautiful gifts she has made. Susan has also started making cakes and decorating them, so every party is amazing. The cake for Jala’s graduation was one of Susan’s cakes, and everyone said it was amazing.

With everything going on, somehow, Susan and Josh found more time to go camping…a bit surprising, but nevertheless, it did happen. They even found a new campsite with a fire ring that allowed him to have a fire, when some camp sites couldn’t have a fire due to bans and dry weather. Susan is very much an outdoor girl. Every year on free fishing day, which is the first Saturday in June, and also falls on Susan and Josh’s anniversary weekend, a group of family members and friend have gone out to the causeway between Lovell and the mountain to fish. This has been for probably the last 3 or 4 years and has become a fun way to celebrate their anniversary with friends.

As an unusual type of travel destination…for them anyway, in March Susan and Josh took their girls Jala Satterwhite and Kaytlyn Griffith to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a vacation. It’s possible that it might be the last family vacation they get to take as a whole family. They had such a great time relaxing on the beach and enjoying the nice weather. They also visiting the local shops and of course, collected sea shells. Like any vacation, they were excited to go, but happy to come home, because there is no place like home, and spring break in Fort Lauderdale was probably a zoo. The trip was a total shock really. They had won a free trip when they went to California, and had planned a trip last year, but then Covid happened and this was their last chance to catch this vacation. So now they can say that they have been to both oceans with the kids, and in addition, when they got married they went to Cabo San Lucas, so they have had some pretty great vacations soaking up the sun. Today is Susan’s birthday. Happy birthday Susan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

She is smart and funny and curious and asks a million questions…and remembers the answers to all of them!! She is Jolene Thompson, the daughter of my niece Kellie Hadlock’s partner, Tim Thompson, and we all love her very much. Jolene has a smile that lights up your day. Her eyes light up and her whole face smiles. Jolene has had lots of exciting things going on this year. She and her daddy have gone hunting and fishing. Jolene loves to do anything her daddy likes to do. She loves shooting, and is learning to be a great shot.

Jolene is a pretty little girl, who is tough as nails. There isn’t a wimpy bone in her body, and she proves that with every camping trip she takes with Tim and Kellie, or with just Tim. She doesn’t shirk her share of the work. I realize that a little girl can’t do a lot of heavy lifting in a camping situation, but Jolene carries her weight, and makes her daddy and Kellie very proud. Jolene is friendly, and easy to get along with. She and Kellie have become best friends. They love each other so much. Jolene is so brave and KIND! Kellie cannot say enough about how kind she is. This world needs kind people like Jolene.

This summer, Jolene got to go to Vacation Bible School with her Aunt Sarah Jarvis. She also loves spending time with Nana and Pop Pop (Tim’s parents, Lynn and Tim Thompson) and with her baby cousin Jasper. Jolene has just started Kindergarten, and is having a great time. Her curious mind is busily absorbing all the new information she is being taught in school. She loves to draw and build things. She loves animals. Both Tim and Kellie have dogs, so Jolene has “fur babies” to love.

Jolene has decided that she wants to be a police officer when she grows up. That seems to be the norm in the Hadlock sphere of influence. It is a good thing to get into, and a tough as nails girl like Jolene should do very well in such a career. She is already working on her shooting skills, so she is ahead of the game. And speaking of game, Jolene went elk hunting with her dad this year, and had a great time. As a non-hunter, I can say that I don’t know much about it, but Jolene is learning quite a bit about ways to draw the bull elk near for the kill. She has learned to facilitate bugling and even even cow elk urine to draw the male in. Now, I can’t say that I would be interested in that, but if I were a hunter, I’m sure I would. Go Jolene!! Today is Jolene’s 6th birthday. Happy birthday Jolene!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

After making a move from Casper, Wyoming to Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 5th, my nephew, Jason Sawdon is settling into his new job and promotion, and great hours for a family man, with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Jason has had a long and successful career with the WHP, and this promotion to Sergeant of Equipment and Technology, is the next step in his decorated career. Jason’s job is to coordinate and test the equipment to make sure it is safe and effective for use in the WHP. He is so well respected and such a help to all who need him, which is no surprise considering his helpful nature. With the promotion comes a great schedule for a family man, with a wife who works from home. Jason now has evenings, weekends, and holidays off, so he and his girls…my niece, Jessi and their daughter, Adelaide, as well as, their dog, Daisy, have been busy exploring the Cheyenne area when they aren’t doing some DIY projects on their home.

Having weekends and holidays off has given the family lots of time for trips, so this summer, they have visited Laramie, Michigan, Denver, Casper, the Snowy Range, Medicine Bow National Forest, and Guernsey State Park. It has also been fun for them to explore their new area and Jason has had a blast doing it. The summer has flown by, and they have been so busy that they didn’t get to go camping as much as they would have liked, but they are going camping this weekend, so that will be fun.

My niece, Kellie Hadlock, Jessi’s sister tells me that Jason is the most helpful person on the planet! He can fix anything. It’s always nice to have a handyman around the house. Jason is a good cook too, even if he made the hottest tacos on the planet…totally by accident, of course, the last time Kellie visited them. Hot is a relative concept, because there are those of us who believe that it isn’t hot enough, unless it makes your lips numb and your nose run…me included. I suppose there could be a level called “too hot,” but I really can’t say I have found that yet, but then I haven’t tried every pepper. Maybe someday.

Jason is a very hands on dad, often helping daughter, Addi build things and learn new things. Addi just adores her daddy. Recently, the Sawdon and Hadlock families got the chance to go to an air show at the Cheyenne Regional Airport, and then they got to tour the vintage World War II planes there, as well as the more modern helicopters. They had a wonderful time going through them since my dad, Jessi’s grandpa, Al Spencer served as top turret gunner on a B-17, based in Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England during the war. Going through those planes is always a sentimental journey for our family. Now, the next generation will get to love it too. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The third year of my grand niece, Mackenzie Moore’s life has be a big one, and the summer has been packed full of fun adventures. The Moore family took a trip to Disney World and they had a blast. They have also been doing a lot of camping, which is a big tradition in the Moore and Hadlock families. The really cool park about camping with the family is that Mackenzie is having all that cousin time. Since Mackenzie and her parents don’t live in the same town as the rest of the family, the cousin time provided while camping is very important and very precious.

Mackenzie loves going to church. She loves God. She loves learning about her savior, Jesus and growing closer to the Holy Spirit every day. Mackenzie loves to sing, and her favorite songs are Christian songs…praise and worship songs are her absolute favorites. Mackenzie loves her church. She loves everything about her church…the songs, Sunday School, and the people…all the people. Mackenzie is much like her mommy, Lindsay Moore in that part of her personality. Mackenzie meets people and they are immediately her friends. Lindsay is that way too. They know everybody in their church. They not only know them, but the talk to them whenever they see them. Mackenzie and her cousins got to got to Vacation Bible School this summer, and they had an amazing time.

As Fall has arrived, Mackenzie’s life is taking on some new journeys. She started pre-school, and she has really enjoyed learning new things. She also got a new dog, Brinkley, which makes coming home from pre-school very special. Mackenzie is studying dance, ballet and tap, and when I say studies, I mean that she does go to class, but the dance is really built into her. She is very theatrical and imaginative, and loves to pretend and perform. She holds recitals for her parents in front of the fireplace, using it as her personal stage. She never misses an opportunity to sing someone a song! She is such a joy, so full of personality, and love!

There is one other aspect to Mackenzie’s life that is very special. Mackenzie is the coaches daughter. Her daddy, Shannon Moore is a coach for the Wyoming Cowboys. As I said, Mackenzie is a friend to everyone, and that includes the players, of course. The friendship between Mackenzie and the players is totally mutual. She loves to go see her daddy’s practices…or should I say she loves to “hold” practices with her daddy. Mackenzie puts the players through their paces, of course, using her whistle to make sure they can hear her, an they all love having their littlest coach. She is a blessing to them, and they ar to her too. Mackenzie’s third year was an amazing one, and I’m sure that her fourth year will be even better. Today is Mackenzie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Mackenzie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My son-in-law, Kevin Petersen is slowly working on a couple of projects. His health issues make it difficult, but he does his best to push through it. He has a van that he is converting into a camper, because he and my daughter, Corrie Petersen love to go camping, especially on Casper Mountain, near their home here in the Casper area. To do that, they don’t need much really, just a bed and a few other necessities. They love sitting around a campfire and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature as only camping can supply.

Kevin also has a Cyclone that his dad gave him, and he has been working on restoring it when he feels up to it. It gives him someplace to go while my daughter is studying for her nursing school classes. That project is a particular treasure of his, because it belonged to his dad, Dean Petersen, and his dad loves to see the progress Kevin is making on the old car.

While Kevin and Corrie’s boys, Chris and Josh Petersen are both very busy people, they try to make time for their parents as much as possible. With all the studying Corrie has to do, Kevin is often the recipient of the time the boys have. With his parents retired, Kevin is able to spend time with his dad and his mom, Becky Skelton. I know that has been a blessing to both of his parents. They often run errands together, as well as just sitting and talking. Kevin and Corrie also love being grandparents, and time with granddaughter, Cambree (3 years old) and grandson, Caysen (9 months old) is absolutely precious.

Kevin is such a great support “team,” for lack of a better word, since a team indicates more than one person, for Corrie as she continues her nursing studies, and also works as a cna at Wyoming Medical Center. Kevin does all the cooking and much of the other household chores, so Corrie can focus on her studies, and that has been a huge help to her. While the chores are difficult for Kevin, he know that every effort he puts forth takes some of the load off of Corrie, and that she will be forever grateful, as am I. Nursing School is probably the hardest thing Corrie, or any other nursing student has ever done, and it doesn’t leave much time for household chores or cooking. Plus, Kevin is an awesome cook, so Corrie has benefitted from his nutritious meals. And she is grateful to him for taking such good care of her. Today is Kevin’s 50th birthday. Happy birthday Kevin!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Adelaide Sawdon has had a very adventurous summer this year. She got to go camping with her grandparents, Allyn and Chris Hadlock, her aunts and uncles for a week without her mom and dad, Jessi and Jason Sawdon. They went swimming in the creeks and exploring…totally having a blast. Then, Adelaide and her parents had to go to Michigan for her great grandma’s funeral. They had been planning to go there for a week of camping, so they actually got to spend a little more time there than they had anticipated, so Adelaide got a full week in Michigan with her grandparents, Richard and Barbara Sawdon and her cousins there. She swam nearly every day in their pond or at a nearby lake. Adelaide absolutely loves swimming. Then, the family went to Hocking Hills, Ohio for the week and explored there. Her mom told me that she has had a really busy summer. I guess so.

Back at home, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Adelaide is the proud owner of a trampoline, because the yard there is big enough, while the Casper house didn’t have enough room for one. Adelaide absolutely loves it and since there are no kids in her neighborhood, having the trampoline gives her something to do. It’s hard to make friends, as anyone who has ever moved can tell you, but Adelaide started kindergarten on August 23rd, a total shock to my mind. Her parents are excited for her to meet some new friends and hoping they will find out that more kids live nearby, since they have neighborhood schools and not school of choice in Cheyenne.

Adelaide and her mom were in Laramie in early August, with cousins Ethan and Aurora Hadlock, and Mackenzie Moore so they could attend vacation bible school together. The kids had such a great time, and it was great for Adelaide to get to spend more time with her cousins. Adelaide loves living closer to her cousin, Mackenzie now. Mackenzie lives in Laramie, and it’s only an hour away, so Adelaide and Mackenzie get to see a lot more of each other…especially since their mom’s both work from home. Adelaide is getting so tall now. I can’t believe How much she has grown. And her beautiful blonde hair is getting so long. Like her mom says, she not a little kid anymore, she is growing into a little person. Adelaide got to go to a concert of her favorite people, Cain. They sing her favorite song called, “I’m So Blessed.” Adelaide knows every word by heart. She has had a lot of firsts this year, and she is really loving life. Today is Adelaide’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Adelaide!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

As I was thinking about my brother-in-law, LJ Cook’s birthday, I decided to talk to his daughters Machelle Moore and Susan Griffith about the special memories they had of their dad. Susan started thinking back on all the experience her dad had gained while he was in his working years, and how that made him the person he is today. She thought, and I agree that those things are LJ had been a Deputy Sheriff and later a truck driver, but he really always wanted to live in a small town. I think he liked knowing many of the people he lives around. So, he and his wife, my sister-in-law, Debbie moved their family to Thermopolis, Wyoming. They loved living in Thermopolis, and my girls, Corrie Petersen and Amy Royce loved going up there to stay for a week in the summers to hang out with their cousins. Then LJ got an offer he couldn’t refuse, and the family moved to Powell, Wyoming where he began managing Empire Gas. That move would change the life paths of the whole family. Susan tells me, “Dad was the manager of the store, and was put in charge of all the propane tanks in the Big Horn Basin, which is a big area. It was his job to go to each tank and refill them. It was the late 1980s, so there were more people then using propane than there are now. They needed the propane to cook, and some to heat their houses with. He tells me about some of the places he got to go to switch out the tanks. He met a huge array of people and got to see a lot of cool places that the average person doesn’t get to see, since all of the tanks were on private land. Listening to him talk about the job made it sound like the most ideal job.” I think for LJ, it really was.

LJ has always been a jokester. He told Susan about this one day at work. There was a bee (or some kind of bug) on the window sill of his office while he was working at Empire Gas. He said he somehow cut the head off the bee (Susan thinks he said with his pocket knife). Well, it kept flying around without it’s head. Every time it hit something it world sting it. Susan says, “He said he told his secretary what happened and she took off out the front door. Which is exactly what I would have done if there was an AWOL bee flying around. He laughs so hard when he tells the story. It must have been pretty funny to see her take off out of there so quickly.” And speaking of bees and LJ, apparently they really don’t bother him a bit. LJ’s daughter, Machelle tells me that he has been helping his best friend, Bill with his bees!! LJ does cover up a little, but doesn’t mind getting stung. Bill has a truck load of bees he goes and gets every year in California. LJ goes around to different places where Bill has the bees to collect the honey for him. I guess he wouldn’t have run out of a room with a bee in it.

Recently, LJ had to have back surgery. He was in so much pain, he could barely walk…with a walker. Following his back surgery, LJ Cook had to take things rather slowly for a while. He and Debbie normally spend much of the summer in the Big Horn Mountains camping, but this year was turning out to be vastly different. As he has recovered, he has been able to start swimming, and hopefully that will help with recovery and mobility. He has really missed out on things since his back really got bad. His daughter, Machelle told me that they did manage to get up to the Big Horns over the 4th of July to spend time with the family, and they really enjoyed it.

Machelle told me that LJ has several extra vehicles, and so decided to sell a couple of them. It was his grandson, Easton, who decided to buy the Bronco. Machelle remembers that when they first got the Bronco, she was never allowed to drive it. So, now that her son is going to be the owner, and not her dad…will Machelle be allowed to drive it? Time will tell, I guess. With this family of jokesters, my guess will be…not for a while, hahahaha!!!

Susan tells me that while she was growing up, if she was in a bad mood he would always find a way to make her smile and feel better. You could say he is the best girl-dad Susan could ask for. Even though he used to embarrass her terribly sometimes. Susan reflected, “A few weeks ago, I came down with a bad bug that gave me a low grade fever and it made me think of when I was super little, I would go sit on my dad’s lap and just sitting there made me feel a little better. When I was sick, I was wishing I could go sit on my dad’s lap. Well that definitely can’t happen anymore because I would then get him sick and the world seems to be a different place with regard to sicknesses right now. I know I can still go sit on his lap, but it’s just not the same as an adult.” No, I don’t suppose it would be. Today is LJ’s birthday. Happy birthday LJ!! 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!!

As his birthday arrives, my niece, Lindsay Moore gets very excited to celebrate her husband, Shannon Moore. Some years are easy and some years are hard, but Shannon is always there for Lindsay and their daughter, Mackenzie. This past year has been one of the tough ones, because Shannon and Lindsay went through something no parents should ever have to go through…the loss of their second daughter, Hallie Joy, who was born and died on December 19, 2020. Shannon and Lindsay were so very saddened by their little daughter’s passing, but they knew that they had to go forward, because they have another daughter…Mackenzie, and she needed them to be the best parents they can be.

Lindsay tells me that Shannon is just that…a dad like no other! He and Mackenzie have such a sweet bond. He loves taking care of her, and he loves giving her and Lindsay the best of everything. For a vacation, Shannon took his family to Disney world last week. They had a wonderful time, and Mackenzie, like most kids at Disney World, or any fair, was completely star struck. It was so much fun to watch her eyes filled with wonder at all the sights and all the rides. Watching Mackenzie experience new things really gives Shannon so much joy. The family got together in Laramie with Lindsay and Shannon for the Independence celebration too, and Shannon and my brother-in-law, his father-in-law, Chris Hadlock had a great time organizing and setting off the fireworks. That really is another event that Mackenzie and her cousin Adelaide Sawdon don’t recall last year’s, so it’s like the first time, but then isn’t every year of fireworks like the first year.

Shannon is quite the handyman, and he has been helping various friends with some home improvement projects this summer. Home Improvement projects are always on everyone’s list of things to do, and it’s very nice to have someone to help out when you are doing them. When Shannon isn’t helping his friends, he and Lindsay like to go camping. They bought a new camper this year, and have been enjoying taking Mackenzie camping before Shannon has to go back to work at the University of Wyoming, where he is the assistant coach for the Wyoming Cowboys Football team. He is also their tight ends coach and helps with special teams too. Last year, with Covid-19, was a strange coaching year, because it is hard to coach virtually, but Shannon made it work and they did get part of a season. He is looking forward to getting back to work and do some real coaching. Today is Shannon birthday. Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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