My grandniece, Christina Masterson has had a pretty busy year. She switched jobs. She had been working from home, calling people for collections. As we all know, that is a really difficult job to have, and Christina is a soft-hearted person, so I can see how collections would tear her up. Now, she is working in a doctor’s office doing the billing. That is really a much better job to have, if you ask me. Christina also works as a hostess for a Chinese restaurant on the weekends.
Christina lives on her own, with her little dog, Athena. In reality, Athena isn’t really a bad dog, but Christina’s cousin, Shai likes to tease that she is. She liked working from home, but that can get a little bit lonely sometimes. Being out in public is important too. Christina has also joined a bowling league and has really enjoyed that. Chritina is a people person, and she loves lifting people up and making them feel good about themselves. After a while of working from home and being more isolated, Christina is really enjoying the idea of branching out and getting back out in the world again. I think a lot of people are feeling that way after the “Covid Lockdowns” and the job losses many people faced. Thise who could work from home were ok, but many who had to go out to work, lost their jobs. It was a sad time for many.
Christina is close friends with her cousin, my granddaughter, Shai Royce, who is just five days younger than Christina. They try to spend some time together around the time of their birthdays, whenever they can. They take lots of pictures, and Shai calls them the “Adventures of Shai and Christina” and labels them with the year it is. They have been doing that for years, since they don’t live in the same state anymore. The girls have been close for most of their lives. Of course, they went through times when they weren’t around each other much, but they have always loved each other and wanted to have more “adventures” together.
Probably the biggest excitement for Christina though was becoming an aunt recently. Her niece, Jocelyn, whom she calls “Josie” was born to her brother, Bradon and his wife. Christina told me that she has been waiting a long time to be an aunt, and now she finally is. Today is Christina’s birthday. Happy birthday Christina!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
This past year has been one filled with excitement, change, and growth for my niece, Lacey Stevens. Lacey, who is a hairdresser, opened her own salon. It’s called LuxLou Beauty Salon, and her business is really growing. Most of her family and friends go to Lacey regularly…not to mention the new people who have been referred to her. Lacey not only does people’s hair for their everyday life, but she also specializes in hair and makeup for their weddings, which as we all know is the most important day in a girl’s life. You want the best for that special day, and Lacey is an expert in providing the very best look for that all-important day. Lacey is very good at what she does, and she listens to her clients, to make sure she does exactly as the want it to be. Going forward, I know that Lacey’s business will only grow bigger and bigger.
While her business is really big news, the most exciting news is that Lacey got engaged to her boyfriend, Chris Killinger just before Christmas. These two are perfect for each other, and Lacey is already a wonderful stepmom to Chris’ two kids, Brooklyn and Jaxon. They love her and our whole family, and we all love them. While many people might think that having a “ready-made family” would be tough, Lacey has embraced it and truly considers Chris’ kids her own. That is as it should be. When you marry a person with children, you marry the whole family. The best stepparents know and embrace that, and it helps that Brooklyn and Jaxon are very sweet. Lacey also has a soft heart, and she is very loving to children, so it’s a blessing to all.
Lacey has been helping Chris with updates to their house. They have been painting, and they also updated the bathroom, which turned out great. This is somewhat new to Lacey, but she is always willing to learn new things and help him with improvements to their home. It’s always fun to watch the changes that people go through as they blend their lives. What one person knows and has done, the other might not have, but when you blend them together, each can teach the other something new…be it a skill or a style.
Now that they are engaged, Lacey and Chris are very busily planning their wedding, scheduled for October. I know it is going to be as beautiful as these two are, and we are all very excited for them. I guess Lacey won’t need to hire someone to do her makeup, because she is the best person for the job. Her own hair and makeup always look perfectly stunning, so unless she just wants to be pampered, why go elsewhere. Of course, we don’t know any of the other details of the wedding plans, and that is as it should be, but I know it will be perfect, and I am very happy for these two. Today is Lacey’s 30th birthday. It’s the perfect time for Lacey to begin the next chapter of her life, but I can’t believe she isn’t a little girl of 3. Where has the time gone. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
It happens with every child, some sooner, some later. Either way, our babies grow up and it always happens much sooner than we want it to. It’s especially hard for parents, when it’s the youngest child. That is the position my niece Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve find themselves in when it comes to their youngest child, Aleesia Spethman. It’s not that Aleesia is all grown up or anything, but she isn’t their little girl anymore either. Now Aleesia calls herself a “pre-teen” and insists that everyone else does too.
This year, she decided to get rid of all of her little girl stuff. She got rid of the pink room and painted it a beautiful turquoise. She’s got her own style and doesn’t want her mom fixing her hair like a little girl. Aleesia is a sweet girl, the family princess, with three big brothers watching out for her all the time. She doesn’t resist their watchful eyes, but rather loves having three big brothers.
The family just got back from a trip to Rapid City to have some fun at the water park. Aleesia and her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac, as well as Xanders girlfriend Alli Simpson are like fish. They all love to go swimming and play at the water park, as do Aleesia’s parents. A great time was had by all, and with school right around the corner, it was a nice final summer break. In fact, Aleesia has had a really great summer She’s been hanging out with her friends, and occasionally her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson, but maybe not quite as much as she did when she was little. That’s a bittersweet thing to my sister, because Aleesia is her youngest grandchild, and she is growing up way too fast.
Aleesia is going into 5th grade, which means that this is her final year of elementary school. This year she gets to be the big kid on campus, and the next year, she’s the little one again. Still, she’s not really little anymore. When Aleesia was a baby, her mom bought a trike with a basket, so she could ride with the family, and Aleesia could ride in the basket. Jenny still has it, but now, Aleesia took it over. I guess she can carry her own stuff in it now. She may not really have a need to carry anything in it, but she likes it, so that’s all that matters. Today is Aleesia’s 10th birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Cassie Franklin is starting a wonderful life, after coming out of a bad marriage. She has two beautiful children, and now she has found a partner, William Burr, with whom she is very happy. Life has not always been easy for Cassie, especially with the loss of her mom, Rachel Schulenberg coming up on 2 years ago now, the extra work of raising a child with Down Syndrome, complicated with the ex-husband and all of his issues, Cassie had her hands very full. Enter William Burr. These days, I see a whole new Cassie. She is happy, relaxed, and while her plate is still very busy with her children, Lucas and Zoey, she is not alone in this journey anymore.
Cassie is a woman of many talents in her own right. She is a great photographer and owner of Iverson Photos, and I have very much enjoyed viewing her work over the years. Cassie has been a member of our family since her late mom married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg on June 12, 2010. She posts all kinds of photographs, but my favorites are the landscapes. I love the outdoors, and so naturally, the pictures of the outdoors are of the most interest to me. I also love the pictures of her children. When you live a little way away from the little ones, it’s always nice to get to watch them grow up, even if it is in pictures.
Cassie has a second business called Nature and Sun Natural Products. Cassie is all about healthy natural products, including candles, body products, and foods. She is very resourceful, and very devoted to a healthy lifestyle for herself and her children. She is a naturalist in every way. She doesn’t want the vaccinations…for herself or her children. She is careful about what they eat, a habit that most likely started with all of the health issues that Lucas has had. Lucas is a healthy boy because of the fight his mom has waged to make sure he stays that way. While Zoey doesn’t have the same health issues, Cassie is unwilling to take any chances with her health either. I think that sometimes having a health scare with your child, necessarily makes you as much a health expert as any doctor, and that is what Cassie strives to become. Her children are very blessed to have her for their mom. Today is Cassie’s birthday. Happy birthday Cassie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My grandson, Josh Petersen is such a hard working young man. He has two jobs, totaling up to at least 12 hours a day. I don’t know how he does it, and still maintains his good disposition. He has always been an easy going guy though…not a lot of things get him upset. If you do cross that line, however…look out. Still, even if he yells at you, he never holds a grudge, so you are forgiven almost immediately…and as Grandma, I never get yelled at, haha!! To be honest he doesn’t yell at his parents either.
A couple of years ago, Josh became an uncle to a sweet little girl, and will be uncle to a sweet little boy in November. It was one of the greatest moments in his life. He loves being uncle, even though he doesn’t get to see his niece too often, because he works so many hours. Josh has always loved kids, and animals. He has a number of fur babies, and recently lost his oldest dog, Molly, who was also his constant companion whenever he wasn’t working. Molly was a Dachshund, and Molly was his girl. He loved her very much. She was originally purchased by his parents for the family, but from the beginning, Molly was Josh’s dog. Animals are like that. They pick out the “human” they want to belong to, and there is little you can do to change their mind. Molly picked Josh, and the rest is history.
Josh was one of many essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. He works at Sanford’s Grub and Pub at night, and All Out Fire during the day. Both were considered essential jobs. It helped in the job situation, but while many of us were hanging out at home, watching television, he was still hard at it. Josh is such a trustworthy guy. He originally started working at Sanford’s when he was 15 years old. They didn’t normally hire kids at that age, but they “took a chance” on him, and they have never been sorry. He has worked there longer than anyone else, including the managers, and he is the current kitchen manager. At just 22, that is a pretty good accomplishment.
Josh may not have lots of free time, but he has good friends that he enjoys hanging out with…people he has known for years. Josh is a loyal friend too, and he is the kind of guy who will give you the shirt off his back, if you needed it. It doesn’t matter what the hour, if he can help, he will help. That’s just the way Josh is. Today is Josh’s 22nd birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Lacey Stevens has turned into an amazing girl, right before our eyes. For many years, Lacey was kind of a shy girl, and I didn’t really expect her to become the exuberant woman she has become. I guess that was my error, because Lacey is a very capable, and rather outgoing woman. Lots of people outgrow shyness, and I guess she did just that.
After high school, Lacey decided to become a cosmetologist, and after going to school for that, began her career, but our Lacey was destined for greater things. She still in the same field, but she now holds the position of salon manager. The truth is that she is pretty young to be in that position, but as I said, she is an amazing woman. The people who work under her, as well as those who work, over her are very pleased with her abilities, indeed. Part of Lacey’s job is to help draw business into the salon, and she is quite good at doing just that. It’s a win-win situation for everyone when the slots are all full. Better for business all the way around.
Lacey also organized any events that might take place as a part of the salon. Recently, they held the “Cut for a Cause” event, in which all of the specified profits of the day were donated for breast cancer research. It was a great way for Lacey and the staff at Ulta Beauty to give back to the community and make a difference for many people through important research.
Of course, work is not all Lacey is about. She became an aunty on August 3, 2018, when her brother, Garrett and his wife, Kayla had a baby girl named Elliott. Becoming an aunt for the first time is always special, and little Elliott is such a smiley girl, that her family can’t help but smile too. Lacey and Elliott are great friends, and that will only get better. Elliott is a long awaited addition to the Stevens family, and we are all quite happy about her arrival. Today is Lacey’s birthday. Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Throughout their childhood, my nieces, Michelle Stevens and Lindsay Moore were the best of friends. They were always having adventures…usually funny ones. The girls at one time decided that they needed a secret language, so that they could communicate all their little girl secrets privately. Of course, in reality they were talking gibberish, but the language sounded close enough to legitimate, that it might have fooled the untrained ear. The girls loved to talk their secret language…especially in public. They actually got pretty good at it, and might have even understood each other, as can happen in these developed childhood languages.
Michelle’s imagination was quite good. She likes to tease people in pure “Michelle” fashion, by telling people she was on her way to their house, when she was actually at home. She even went so far as to say she was outside their house, and could see them through their window…when in reality, she never really intended to come over at all. She was quite funny, and I think maybe her imagination soon led to her chosen career…art.
After Michelle graduated from Black Hills State University, with a teaching degree and an art degree, she moved back to Casper, Wyoming, hoping to get a job in the local school district. With the country in a downturn, schools were closing, and jobs weren’t available. So, Michelle found another type of dream job. The Nicolaysen Art Museum snatched her right up for a teaching position there. Michelle loves working with the various groups, teaching art projects and classes with people of all ages. Veterans, home schoolers, art club, seniors. This is a different kind of teaching than she thought she would be doing, in that the students are of all ages. That is an unexpected pleasure for Michelle, who didn’t expect to be working with adults, when she went into teaching. She absolutely loves it.
For an artist, the art museum is a favorite place to be, and she love the Nicolaysen, and takes great pride in it, as well as working there. Recently, Michelle was chosen to do an Art Integration Conference for teachers Professional Development. It was a great honor. She was a presenter for one of the sessions, at which time gave a lecture about Art Basics for the Non-Artistic. Hmmm…I should have attended that one, since Michelle has more artistic ability in one strand of hair, that I have in my whole body. Her lecture was a quick breakdown of Introduction to Art, after which she gave the teachers various strategies on ways to integrate art into any class. The people at the museum are super impressed with her and have put their faith in her. Her boss, Zhanna wants her to help her develop a whole Art integration Conference for 2021. We are very proud of her.
Time changes things, and for Michelle, that means that with the improving economy, the Natrona County School District is once again looking at her for teaching positions. She will start substitute teaching in the school district in January, and she is hoping to land one of the three art teacher positions opening in the school in June. Of course, that would mean leaving the Nicolaysen…a move that saddens both Michelle and her work family at the Nicolaysen. She has not finalized her plans in that respect, but it is an opportunity that will be impossible to pass up. We all wish her well, in whatever decision she makes. Today is Michelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Michelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
I was talking with my sister-in-law, Brenda Schulenberg yesterday, and she mentioned that our niece, Machelle Moore had only had 6 times in her life that Thanksgiving had fallen on her birthday. Having a late November birthday, one might expect to have a Thanksgiving birthday more often, but because her birthday was very late in the month, that is just not the case.
Thinking back on Machelle’s life, I recall that she was born three days after Thanksgiving in 1976. Bob and I had taken our girls to visit his aunt and uncle in Kennebec, South Dakota, and the weather had turned bad. I don’t recall if we had to spend an extra day or not, but I do remember that Machelle’s mom, Debbie Cook went into labor and after about 36 hours of labor, had to have a Caesarean Section for Machelle to be delivered. It was a bit scary, but in the end, we went home to meet our new little niece. She was born 6 months after my Amy and 18 months after my Corrie, so the girls were always good friends.
Machelle has changed so much over the years. Not only has she grown tall like her dad, LJ Cook, but she has grown sweeter every year. Machelle has a kind heart. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love her very much. She is a wife to her best friend, Steve Moore. They love each other so much, and are very well suited to each other. They both love to go rock hunting, and often come back with great pieces of obsidian that Steve turns into Native American tools that are beautiful…and the real shock is that Steve isn’t Native American. It’s a cool passion that Machelle and her husband share.
Machelle is also mom to two boys, Weston and Easton, who are almost grown men now. Weston has graduated from high school, and Easton is in high school. As the boys have grown, Machelle feels a little bit sad, because she knows that soon they will be out on their own and she will be an empty nester, like so many others who have gone before her into that new identity. For some it is difficult and for others it is easy…or at least not as hard as for others. I think Machelle will do fine, because she has a wonderful marriage. She and Steve share so many interests, including camping, rock hunting, and the company of good friends and family. Yes, I know that Machelle and Steve will have a long wonderful life together, and before she knows it, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. I’m sure she is not in a huge hurry to get there, but it is a nice dream of the future. Today is Machelle’s birthday. Happy birthday Machelle!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
My niece, Kelli Schulenberg has a list of things she likes that might make many people feel very tired, but Kelli is someone who is on the go a lot. In her own words, Kelli likes “Music, traveling, fitness, animals, and the outdoors. Fresh air, trees, blue skies, summer, and hiking.” Anyone who knows her, know that truer words were never spoken. Kelli likes to stay active, and doesn’t like to waste a moment of her free time. If there’s a concert nearby, Kelli and her husband, my nephew, Barry Schulenberg might jump in the pickup and head for wherever it is being held. They both really enjoy going to concerts.
If there isn’t a concert, Kelli and Barry might be found on Casper Mountain, cross country skiing in the winter, or hiking in the summer. Anyone who knows Kelli very well, knows that she prefers Summer over Winter…every time. And there are a lot of us who totally agree with her whole heartedly on that one. For Kelli, as for many of us, Winter brings with it, a little bit of…depression, for lack of a better word. It’s not that she is depressed, but that the weather is depressing. Because Kelli likes to hike, she feels sad when the winter months hit. For a hiker, cross country skiing really can’t compare to hiking. At least, that’s the way I feel about it.
Kelli loves animals, and her dog, Scout is her current “baby.” Scout can be a trial for Kelli, always wanting to be lazy, when she wants to be active. Nevertheless, he makes up for it with his goofy ways. There is a lot to be said for a dog making his masters laugh. Scout refuses to “adult,” as Kelli would say, so his goofiness is always inspiring laughter in his masters. Scout came to live with Kelli and Barry as a puppy, after their long time dog, Dakota passed away. Scout has lots of potential, but lets face it…right now Scout is no Dakota. I know that Kelli and Barry still miss Dakota very much.
Kelli and Barry have a place out east of Casper, Wyoming. It’s home, but Kelli would love to have a couple of donkeys on it. They are one of her favorite animals. Still, she loves most animals. She has a real heart for them. She loves their antics, their cuddles, and yes, even their naughtiness. I hope that someday Kelli gets her donkeys. I think that would be very cool. Today is Kelli’s birthday Happy birthday Kelli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
There are certain people who fit in your family from the moment they join it. My niece, Dustie Masterson, who married my nephew Rob Masterson on January 18, 2003 is one of those people. Rob and Dustie met when he was in the Army, and was in Louisiana. It didn’t take them very long to realize that they were in love and that they were perfect for each other. When they returned to Casper, Wyoming where Rob’s family all live, the family liked Dustie immediately. She was sweet, helpful, kind, and most of all, she was very much in love with and loyal to Rob. That goes a long way toward endearing a person to their spouse’s family.
Dustie and Rob’s favorite place to be was always together. It didn’t really matter where. That is such an interesting thought now, years later, when the two of them work together in different areas of the local Sam’s Club. Not everyone has the ability or the opportunity to work at the same place as their spouse, but Dustie and Rob even got hired at the same time. Now, they get to work together sometimes, and on opposite shifts at other times, but either way, they work at the same place, and are part of the same team. They are both supervisors in their areas now, and the people they work with count on them to keep things running smoothly.
Dustie and Rob have three children together, Raelynn, Matthew, and Audrianna, as well as Rob’s daughter from his first marriage, Christina. Their lives are so full of joy and happiness. They love their family, and their extended family. They are always willing to help others. Dustie stepped in during the years that we took care of our parents, and even though they were her grandparents by marriage, she loved them like they were her own. She ran errands for us, helped out with meals and care, and visited, which we all know is vital when it comes to helping people feel good about life. Dustie is such a pleasant person too. She is light-hearted and fun, and she doesn’t mind being a little bit silly sometimes. So, seriously, what’s better than that…let’s face it, nothing. That’s what I really like about Dustie. Her little bit sweet, little bit silly personality. Today is Dustie’s birthday. Happy birthday Dustie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!