While I love the beautiful snow globe scenes that bombard the internet every Winter, I also see in them, the freezing cold temperatures that must always accompany the real-life version. Some people like my sister, Cheryl Masterson and my granddaughter, Shai Royce love most of what Winter brings, snow and cold, but even they don’t like the pounding wind and sun-zero temperatures…or the terrible driving conditions that come along with them. I honestly don’t think any sane person would say they “like” the wind and sub-zero temperatures.
To say that I don’t love a good snowy scene, would be a lie, so I won’t say that. I love looking at winter scenes of all kinds. From the pictures people take and post, to the snow scene “gifs” that are most prevalent at Christmas, I love them all. Nevertheless, from my point of view, my placement in those pictures, is inside the house that is often shown, with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a warm cozy fire in the fireplace. Looking from the inside out on a Winter scene is the best place to be.
I keep asking myself this year, just what it is that places me in the category of the Winter Weary, because we really have had a mild Winter. Still, that week of sub-zero temperatures, and the day of that cold wind, are enough to make me weary from day one. Then, we get our “Annual January Thaw” that comes right before that slap of Winter saying, “And….we’re back!!” that gets me every time!! These past few days of highs in the low 50° temperatures have been absolutely lovely. They would be even better, if they didn’t have to be accompanied by 30 mile per hour winds. Then, just in time for Groundhog Day, the temperatures are going to begin the decent into the 30° range again. Just Yucky!
I admit it, I am a Summer person!! That is my happy place, with Spring and Fall as close seconds, provided they don’t decide to be a snowy Spring or Fall, and that isn’t exactly the case most of the time. The way I see it, Winter around here lasts about nine months, and the rest of the seasons get to split the rest of the year. I think it is just very rude to let us have that “Annual January Thaw” each year, knowing that after that week, reality will be right back, and the Winter winds, and sub-zero temperatures with look us in the face an just roar with laughter again. Nevertheless, fellow “Winter Weary” people, Spring is just 49 days away. Woo Hoo!!!
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 sister, Alena Stevens retired from the school district last year, in what was probably the weirdest retirement ever. She had planned to retire at the end of the school year, but then everything got very crazy. Spring break turned into the unofficial end of the in-class school day, and after a while, all that was left was to sort out the students’ belongings so they could stop by the school, and the staff would bring the belongings out to them. Alena’s job pretty much ended in March rather than June.
That wasn’t the only work oddity in Alena’s working career either. Alena worked at Kmart in her teen years, as did I…it must be a family trend. Anyway, she was walking to work from our house, which was less than a block away, and for some reason our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock was in her own car, sitting in front of the house. This was back in the days of the CB radio. We didn’t have cell phones in those days, so if you didn’t mind having everyone within range hearing your conversation, you could pick up the mike and “call” a friend. The unique thing about the CB radio is that it also has a PA built in too…maybe not all of them, but Allyn’s did. So, as Alena was about to turn the corner to head to Kmart, Allyn picked up the Mike and said, “Alschmenerdoodle” over the PA. She made sure to say it in a long drawn out manner…and very loud. Alena stopped in her tracks and turned around laughing!! You have to understand that our family has a rather long history of making up funny nicknames for each other. I don’t know if Allyn had used that nickname before, but after that it became a standing joke and funny nickname!! Of course, while Alena found that super funny, it just couldn’t stand without “retaliation.” From that point and for a long time, Alena called Allyn “Alschminerdoodle!” Hahahahaha!! I don’t know, maybe retirement is the best move for Alena!! Work gets very odd for her…although, she did meet her husband Mike Stevens while working at Shellabarger Chevrolet, so there is that.
These days, Alena’s favorite title is grandma. She loves spending time with her granddaughter, Elliott Stevens. Elliott is a perfect fit in our family, not just because she is blood relation, but because she is humor related. She is so funny, and I just know that Elliott will get right in there and come up with a new generation of nicknames. Alena loves spending time with Elliott, and they love being silly together.
This year, Alena and her husband, Mike purchased a new camper trailer, and with summer finally upon us, they are looking forward to doing some camping at Pathfinder Reservoir. It will be a fun time with family, and especially Alena, because she knows that she doesn’t have to go back to work when the summer is over. That takes some getting used to after retirement, but it sure is nice to remember that every time it comes to mind. Today is Alena’s 60th birthday. I hope I’m not in trouble for telling her age. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens and my sister, Alena Stevens, have done a lot of camping over the years. They have had had a number of camper trailers, but this year, they decided to get the one they really wanted, after all, Mike’s retirement is coming up soon…not that I know when, but he is closer to retirement than he ever was, and according to his son, Garrett Stevens, it can’t come soon enough. Mike and Alena have lots of summer plans in the works. They are planning camping trips on the mountain, very likely both the Big Horns and Casper Mountain, as well as at the Pathfinder Reservoir where the Stevens Clan take yearly vacations with the whole Stevens family. That said, they bought a 2021 Keystone Laredo 5th Wheel trailer. It is beautiful and it will definitely take their camping comfort to the next level.
Mike is a major green thumb. He loves growing things, and that means making sure they have a wonderful lawn. Their yard, both front and back and great entertaining spots, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Mike can grow. Their daughter, Michelle Stevens tells me that her dad has “quite the green thumb.” Their summer garden usually contains tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. By the end of the growing season Mike and Alena have much work to do, because the harvest is always good. They busily can the vegetables, as well as the spaghetti sauce, that is Mike’s specialty; and Alena’s is her salsa.
Interestingly, Mike’s son Garrett came across a couple of “blast from the past” pictures of his dad that I find very interesting Mike used to work at Shellabarger Chevrolet, where Mike worked as a mechanic. In fact, that is where Mike met my sister, Alena…and the rest, as they say, is history. They have been married for 37 years this July 21st. You just never know where you will meet your soulmate. The other picture Garrett found is one with Mike and his buddies, Lloyd LaFave, Ron Millay, and Eddie Bright. What shocked me so much with this picture was just how much Mike and Garrett look alike. I knew Garrett looked a lot like his dad, but somehow, until you see a picture that clearly could be one person, but is actually the other, you just don’t make the connection in your mind. They could be twins…which wouldn’t be so odd, since Mike is a twin with his brother, Pat. Nevertheless, Mike and Pat are fraternal twins, and Garrett is actually more a twin to his dad than Pat is.
Mike and Garrett are planning some fishing for the summer, as golfing, of course. They both love golf, and this year they plan to golf at least once at the Powder Horn Golf Club in Sheridan, where Garrett and his family live. Mike and Alena plan to spend quite a bit of time in Sheridan, since that is where their first grandchild, granddaughter, Elliott lives. She is the apple of their eyes, and the just can’t get enough of her. Elliott, for her part, is a total character, and keeps her parents, Garrett and Kayla Stevens and grandparents, Mike and Alena Stevens and Wes and Lynette Smiley in stitches. Life just doesn’t get any better!! Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Twenty seven years…it can seem like a lifetime, or as is the case with my daughter, Corrie Petersen, and her husband, Kevin, it can fly by so quickly that it seems impossible that it has been that many years already. Corrie and Kevin began dating when she was just 15 and he was 19. They fell in love almost instantly, and they have never looked back. They married two weeks after Corrie turned 18.
So many things have changed over the course of 27 years. Two sons were born into their union, Christopher and Joshua. They were blessed with much love in their home, which they purchased almost immediately after their marriage, with the down payment coming from a car accident that occurred on their honeymoon. Kevin and his dad, Dean knew how to do bodywork on cars and to paint them, so much of the payment for their damages was left to them following the accident that was the fault of the other driver…who was an honest kid, who accepted the blame and was just thankful that no one was hurt.
Over the years, Corrie and Kevin have had a number of pets, from their first…a Dalmatian puppy, to their currents…a Scottie, two Dachshunds, and a cat. Their love of pets is quite evident, and they have been equally blessed in return. The also shared their love of pets with their sons, who both have pets in their homes, now that they are grown.
With the adulthood of their children, came more changes. the empty nest that many people dread, was not their favorite time, but they have adjusted to it, and the addition of Chris’ fiancée, his little daughter, and with a son to follow in November, life is getting better and better every day. Both of their sons were able to keep their jobs during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and in fact were considered “essential workers,” which helped to alleviate any financial concerns for Corrie and Kevin, concerning their children. Life has been good to them, and the love in their family is filled to overflowing. Twenty seven years have flown by, which is exactly what happens when you are having fun. Today is Corrie and Kevin’s 27th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary Corrie and Kevin!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you both!!
My sister, Alena Stevens has always had a great sense of style…especially when it came to interior decorating. Her ability to somehow see something in a room that almost speaks to her. She can just picture what the room should look like before she even starts decorating the room. I was always impressed that she could do that, because I practically have to copy something out of a magazine or webpage to get the room to look good. Alena just sees it all in her head. It must be her creative side.
I was always impressed with the beautiful rooms Alena could create. Her house always feels warm and homey. What I didn’t expect, was when a house spoke to Alena. No, I’m not being creepy, but Alena saw the house she and her husband, Mike now own, after it had already been sold. At that time she told Mike that if it ever went on the market again, she wanted it. After a few years, the house did go on the market again, and they jumped at the chance to buy it. The house was everything Alena had dreamed it would be. She set about decorating it, and the house seemed to glow under her loving care.
Over the years, Alena had changed the décor of the home, and each time it is just as lovely as the time before. When we went through our parents things, after their passing, she incorporated the things she got into lovely areas of tribute to them. Then she made a wonderful man-cave for Mike. Don’t get me wrong on who does the work here, because Mike does most of the heavy lifting and the mechanical stuff, but the design is all Alena. Her design talents are well known in the family, and a number of us have her ideas in our own homes, including me. It is something we can all feel very blessed about, because talented interior decorators are not easy to come by.
These days, a part of Alena’s heart lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. Her son Garrett, his wife, Kayla, and daughter, Elliott live there. Alena and Mike go up as often as they can. Elliott is their first, and for now, only grandchild, so visits are precious. Elliott is an almost 2-year-old toddler, who is full of personality, and makes everyone laugh. She holds her grandparents’ hearts for sure. They keep in touch by FaceTime when they can’t be there, but it just isn’t the same. With Alena’s retirement this year from the school district, she will be able to go to Sheridan more and I know that she will do just that. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens, who has always liked fishing, had the opportunity this past winter to try something new, when he and his son, Garrett went ice fishing for the first time. The trip took them out on the Tongue River Reservoir, just outside Sheridan, where Garrett lives with his wife, Kayla and their daughter, Elliott. The spot they went to is just a couple of miles into Montana, next to the coal mines up there. Kayla’s grandfather has an ice shanty there. The morning was not very productive, other than lots of visiting, but they did see one Northern Pike, which Mike quickly speared. The fish, it turns out weighed 14 pounds…nice!! Since the fish didn’t seem to be hanging around that area, they decided to go down the ice to where Kayla’s uncle had a shanty. After just 10 minutes, they speared two smaller, approximately 9 pound Northern Pike, about 10 minutes apart. Then, 15 minutes later, a big 15 pound Northern Pike came in and swallowed the lure, they had to spear him to get him out of the water. Garrett tells me that Mike was “hooked after that first one and then having the other 3 come in so fast just solidified it.” They are talking about going again next year, and Garrett plans to build his own shanty. It is a wonderful new way for father and son to connect.
While Mike likes to fish, that is not the draw that Sheridan has on him these days. Garrett and Kayla and their daughter are the main reasons Mike and Alena want to go to Sheridan. Elliott is their first grandchild, and they are so in love with her. Having the kids live a couple of hours away has been hard on them, but with FaceTime, they are able to keep in touch, and they go to Sheridan as much as they can, to spend time with them. My sister tells me that whenever they FaceTime with the kids, Elliott asks for her Papa, but Alena is still sure that she loves her Namma the most, hahahaha!! I suppose Mike will argue that one.
Another new thing for Mike and Alena this year, was hiking is the Sheridan area. They hiked along the Tongue River, and Alena said it was an absolutely gorgeous day. I can totally relate, because my husband, Bob and I love to hike too. I haven’t spent much time near the Tongue River, but I suspect that Mike and Alena will find themselves hiking that area a lot more. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My sister, Alena Stevens has had a dream for a number of years now…to be a grandma. That dream finally came true almost a year ago when her little granddaughter, Elliott Michelle Stevens was born on August 3, 2018, which is also our grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer’s birthday. I know she would have been so happy to have her great great granddaughter born on her birthday. Grandbabies are always wonderful, and it’s especially cool when they become a birthday present too. And it’s cool for everyone, from the parents to the grandparents.
Alena has worked for the Natrona County School District as the Refocus Room teacher for a number of years now. She says that she really has a heart for helping these students get themselves back on track. She understands the emotions they sometimes deal with, and that is not always easy to do. Working in the school district also gives her the summers off, as well as any school holidays and national holidays. That is going to be especially nice for her now, because her son, Garrett, daughter-in-law, Kayla, and little Elliott live in Sheridan and Alena lives in Casper, making it difficult to visit during the school year. Thankfully Sheridan isn’t that far away, so visits are possible on the weekends too.
Alena is a teacher in the Refocus Room at Verda James School, but she is also a great hairstylist and a great interior decorator too. Her home is beautifully decorated, with a style that some of us can only dream of producing in our own homes. She uses everything from wallpaper to stencils to dual colors in a room, to create a warmth and beauty that is just stunning. It is a talent that I wish I had, but I believe it is a gift that not everyone is given. She has an eye for it for sure, and that is what it takes to envision the way a room will look once you put your ideas in place. Today is Alena’s birthday. Happy birthday Alena!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Today marks a proud day in my life, as my granddaughter, Shai Royce takes the first steps in her journey to follow in my footsteps, by becoming a Commercial Lines Processor for Rice Insurance in Bellingham, Washington. The really cool thing is that to a large degree, she is also following in her mother, Amy’s footsteps too. My daughter, Amy is a Personal Lines Account Manager for Rice Insurance, and they will be working across the street from each other, which is awesome!!
Shai’s insurance career actually started when she was just 14 years old, and living in Casper, Wyoming. Her mom and I were both working for Jim Stengel at The Stengel Agency, and we needed a customer service representative to pick some of the slack in our busy office. Enter Shai, who worked for us off and on for a couple of years, taking only a short break when she needed a job with more hours after school. Shai did a great job for us in our office. She learned quickly and she was very helpful. We were sorry to see her go when she moved to Bellingham, Washington to be near her parents and brother. While in Bellingham, Shai worked at several jobs, with the longest one being Red Robin, and the last one being Mako Fly Reels. Shai liked her jobs, and especially the people she worked with, but the jobs just weren’t fulfilling for a girl with Shai’s abilities, and her prior training, so when an opening came up in her mom’s company, Shai applied for and won the job.
Today is the first day of Shai’s new career. I am very excited for her as she begins this great new journey in her life. Since I have been both a personal lines agent, and a commercial lines agent, I can say while there was much to learn in commercial lines, it feels great to be able to help a business owner with the coverages they need to protect their business, so they can focus on making a success of their business. I know that because Shai is starting this career at a younger age than I did, she will have the years ahead of her to become a great commercial processor, and maybe further than that if she is interested in becoming an agent or an account manager like her mom. I think it’s awesome that Shai is going to be working in the same great company as her mom, and following in her mom’s footsteps and in mine. Have a great first day on the job, Shai!! We are all very proud of you!!
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!!