My grandniece, Alli Simpson, who isn’t my official grandniece yet, but I expect that she will be one day soon, is my grandnephew, Xander Spethman’s girlfriend. They have been together for almost three years now, and are so perfectly suited for each other, that it is hard to believe that they aren’t married yet. Some couples are that way. Their relationship makes them seem married even though they aren’t yet. Alli also fits into the Spethman family like she is already a daughter-in-law, and they love her very much. Alli and Xander might have moved to their own place now, but they are still very close to the Spethman family, and many nights find them at the Spethman house enjoying time with his siblings and parents.

This past year has been a busy one for Alli an Xander. They moved into their own place, and she started a candle making business called The Funky Candle Company, and in August, she announced that her candles could be purchased at the Copper Leaf in Glenrock, Wyoming, as well as online at her website (coming soon), and at her Facebook page The Funky Candle Co. I am so happy for her and her business. She had wanted to be a nurse, but with Covid-19 and the vaccinations, she decided against that career. This new venture has been very fruitful and gratifying for her.

Alli and Xander love pets, and they have three. They rescued two dogs, Rocky and Thor, and they have two cats too, Jasper and Salem. Jasper loves Allie so much, as do the “boys” Rocky and Thor, as well as Salem. Alli has a heart of gold, and when it comes to animals, she is a total softie. Animals can tell when someone is an animal lover, and they can tell when someone isn’t, and they will stay away. Animals are drawn to Alli and Xander, because they love pets so much. With their four pets, their little family is complete…for now anyway.

Alli also loves plants, and she can grow anything. She reminds me of my daughter, Amy Royce in that way. With those two, is best to either keep them out of a plant nursery or get out of their way when they walk in the door, because they can get pretty excited. Being a green thumb is an amazing skill, and one I wish I had, but alas, I do not. That said, I am in awe of those who are green thumbs, like Alli. Today is Alli’s 19th birthday. Happy birthday Alli!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

When a girl turns nine, things really start to change. For my grand niece, Kaytlyn Griffith, that means that she is on the big kid side of the school. That brings back so many memories for me. I hadn’t thought about the big kid side of the school in years. I think I almost thought it was only something that was a part of the school I went to, so to hear that it is still such a big deal is really amazing. It takes me back in time. Kaytlyn really likes school, and does especially well in math and reading. This year she is learning cursive…more things that being on the big kid side of the school is all about. It’s almost like a secret club that kids get to join when they enter the third grade.

In recent years, a new phenomenon has come into being. Or maybe it was a thing before and has now made a comeback, but when I was a kid and when I was raising my kids, there was no such thing as a Daddy-Daughter Dance. I kind of wish there had been, because it is really a cool way for dads to bond with their daughters. Kaytlyn really wanted her daddy, Josh Griffith to take her and her sister, Jala Satterwhite, last year, but something came up and he couldn’t go. This year Jala wasn’t interested, but Josh and Kaytlyn went to the dance, and I think Kaytlyn looked just like Cinderella with her Prince Charming. The coolest part of the whole thing was that their picture turned up on the front page of the newspaper. I guess they thought the same thing I did about this royal couple. For Kaytlyn, being on the front page of the paper is the epitome of fame…and she has arrived.

I imagine that the reason she feels that way is that one of the commercial loan officers at the First Bank of Wyoming in Powell, Becky Duran is on billboards all over town. Everyone knows her name, and to Kaytlyn, that makes her that most awesome celebrity ever. Sometimes she is even in the paper too. Every time they pass a billboard with her name on it, Kaytlyn shouts, “There’s Becky Duran!” Kaytlyn has loved this celebrity for over a year, and her mom, Susan decided that it was time they met. She made an appointment with Becky, and had her mom, Debbie Cook take the girls in. They were both very excited. She gave them bags of promotional bank items and they got to have hot chocolate with her. It was a day to remember for both of the girls, and how sweet of Becky to make it such a wonderful memory for them to cherish.

Living in the country has it’s privileges…especially when it comes to pets. Kaytlyn loves her pets. The family has 4 cats and 3 dogs, which might seem like a lot to city dwellers, but in the country, you can do that. Two kittens and a puppy were added to the family in the same weekend. They were all 8 weeks old in November. Since then, it has been pretty crazy around their house. The puppy is named Trump, and I love that. A couple weeks later they found out that he is deaf, but he is the sweetest dog, and well behaved, which is uncommon for a dog that cannot hear commands. Kaytlyn has nicknamed him Truck. Today is Kaytlyn’s 9th birthday. Happy birthday Kaytlyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Living in the country and raising a few head of cattle for the purpose of butchering to feed the family is the way of life for the small rancher. A small rancher is of course, someone who doesn’t sell the cattle for profit, but just uses them for a food source. That is what Bob’s family used to do…Bob and I included. This was a new kind of life to me, as I had never been around cows much.

Corrie, Amy, and I would feed the cows in the morning, or at least the girls would come along. If you have never been around cows when someone is bringing in a bucket of grain, I promise you that you do not want to let small children in there. You see the grain to a cow…well, that’s their candy, and you had better move fast and get it into the feeding trough, or you will get run over. They have absolutely no discipline when it comes to grain.

I remember one cow in particular that I had named Rosie, because of her coat. Rosie was a Hereford cow. She loved her grain. She would run along side me to be first in line. One time, she was running and needed to scratch her belly at the same time, so she tried to do both. The result was that she kicked me in the back of the knee. Man…that hurt. She left a quarter sized bump and a huge bruise. The bump was with me for about a year and the bruise actually re-occured off and on. I can still feel her kick. She didn’t mean to do it of course. She was like a little kid and very gentle, but she loved her candy, and anyone in the vicinity of the bucket had better beware. Needless to say, you can see why the girls watched me feed the cows. They did help with the hay though, but that was done from the other side of the fence where they couldn’t get run over.

Butchering the cows…well that is another story. After caring for the cows and even naming them…probably not the best idea, I simply could not stand the thought or the sight of my pets being shot in the head, even though I knew it had to be, and I was ok with eating the meat. So the girls and I stayed in the house…with the TV or radio on fairly loud while the butchering was taking place.

We have long since moved into town, and we do not raise cows anymore, but I look a little differently at the cows we pass on the roads when we travel, because I know a little more about how they act, and what it takes to raise them than I ever imagined I would.

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