My grandniece, Jadyn Mortensen is graduating from high school today, and I can’t believe that she could possibly be that grown up…except for the fact that I have watched her growing up these 18 years. I would like to say that there is one standout point of amazingness with Jadyn, but there just isn’t. Jadyn is a girl with many talents. If you put Jadyn on a horse, she will show you how to be the most amazing barrel racer I have ever seen. Ok, I could be biased, but she is really good, nevertheless. She is so good in fact, that the University of Wyoming saw her talent, and signed her to the rodeo team immediately…along with a full ride scholarship. The value of her talent has proven to be great.
Jadyn plans to study Mechanical Engineering. I wasn’t totally sure what that was, so I had to look it up. At first, I thought it was about building machines, and to a degree it is, but there is so much more to it than that. What I found was that “mechanical engineers are problem solvers who apply their skills to design, develop, build, and test all sorts of mechanical devices, tools, engines, and machines in just about every type of industry.” They are like the designers of the future!! A mechanical engineering student works with a team to develop “a wide range of products and systems including, transmissions, engine parts, aircraft engines, control systems, prosthetic devices, disk drives, printers, semiconductor tools, sensors, gas turbines, wind turbines, fuel cells, compressors, robots, machine tools, space shuttle vehicles, turbines, pumps, power plants, factories, and more.” When I look at the list of possible career options for a mechanical engineer…well, it’s endless!! To top it off, mechanical engineering is actually “ranked among the top 10 fields for employment nationally, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010 (May 2019), and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of nearly 140,000 new jobs over the next decade.” Ok, I’m impressed. Like I said, Jadyn is a multi-talented girl, and it looks like her options are as big as her many talents.
Jadyn’s interest in machines, is not something she came by accidentally. Jadyn has grown up around boats, 4 wheelers, snowmobiles, and motorcycles too. In fact, she has mixed motorcycles with snow by adding skis to the motorcycle. She and her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen love every kind of “toy” and they are talented on all of them. Jadyn and her dad have even filmed YouTube videos of themselves “struttin’ their stuff” on their toys. They are interesting to watch, and Jadyn and her dad love to tease each other while they ride. I think that really the hardest part about Jadyn going off to college is that she has been very close to her parents her whole life, and while UW is not so far away, it is far enough that her parents will definitely feel the empty nest she will be leaving them with. Today, Jadyn is graduating from high school. The world is waiting Jadyn!! I can’t wait to see where life takes you. Congratulations!! We love you!!
My son-in-law, Travis Royce is a man of many talents, who never brags on himself. He is really a very humble man. He loves do home improvement projects and make things in general. Last year, while his family was visiting us out in Wyoming, Travis was home building a beautiful patio area for Amy at home. Because Travis and Amy like to make wine, Travis wanted to incorporate wine into the design, so he used wine bottles as the spindles on the rail. It is such a cool, and unique idea, a one that is not surprising when Travis makes something. He has really unique ideas, and with his tendency to try to surprise people with his work, Travis is a man with a flair for the unexpected.
According to my granddaughter, Shai Royce, her dad “loves home improvement projects, reading, especially about history, comedy, Kung Foo, football, playing guitar, and the three of us.” The three of them being his family, my daughter, Amy, and their kids, Shai and Caalab. Most of Travis’ likes were things I knew about, but Kung Foo surprised me. Not sure what to make of that, I asked Shai is he was taking classes in Kung Foo, but she said no, almost laughing I’m sure, it’s Kung Foo movies he likes. In fact, he and Shai used to watch Kung Foo movies together when she was a little girl. Travis loves to barbecue and entertain. He is a great cook, often cooking breakfast for his family, but he is really in his element when he is barbecuing. He loves making wine to share with his family and friends, and what better time to share wine than when you have friends over to barbecue. With Travis sense of humor, it’s always great time.
The past couple of years, Travis has stepped out of his element to a degree, when the whole family decided to bowl on a bowling league. It was a lot of fun for all of them this year, and they were more than a little bit surprised to find that they had taken fist place. They have been invited to bowl in a county wide tournament for the county championship in Bellingham this Saturday and they are looking forward to that. Then, they found out that Travis had taken most improved bowler award…improving his average by 13 pins. I’d say that it has been a pretty good year for Travis, and we wish him many more great years in the future. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day! We love you!!
Last Sunday was my mom’s family’s annual picnic. We have been having these picnics, as well as the annual Christmas party, every year for decades now. We do this as a way to re-connect with family that we don’t get to see very often. It was my grandparents’ wish that we not drift apart when they were gone, and we have worked to do this for them, as well as for all of us. These days it is so easy to lose touch with family, and more and more I find that I don’t want that to be our family’s future. So many people know their aunts, uncles, and cousins, but when it comes to their cousins children and their children, well they hardly know them. I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know those young people in our family through Facebook friendships, and I want all of you to know that is has been a wonderful experience to get to know each of you. We have a wonderful family, with so many varied ideas and talents, and to miss out on all that…well, it would be a great loss.
I think this year’s attendance was a little better than last year’s, and I think that is due to Facebook. It was a great way to announce the plan to all the family, and get everyone talking about it excitedly. It was fun to see how much the little ones had grown and to see everyone just enjoying the day, which ended up being a little cooler than the heat wave we had been having.
My cousin, Michael had said that we needed to get together for something besides a funeral, since we had 2 within the last year. I agree, and I wish he had been able to be there. Sadly a couple of the regular attendees, Uncle Larry and Uncle Jack left us this year, and their presence was very much missed at this year’s picnic, but I was glad to see Aunt Jeanette and Aunt Bonnie there, and doing ok. As more and more of my aunts and uncles leave us, we will look back on these gatherings with the fondest of memories.
The annual picnic was a wonderful success, as it always is, and I always find myself sorry when it is over. This year, however, I think it will be better, because I am in closer touch with so many of my cousins and their families. I look forward to getting to know each of you better, and hearing about all your little family stories. And who knows, you might find yourself in one of my stories, because…when it comes to my stories, no one is exempt where a story exists.