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Steve and Kathy Jenkins Family

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12/01/2009 - Steve Jenkins and his family have never lived in Alaska. They didn't just move to Casper from Rock Springs.

"It sounds like an interesting life," Steve said, "But it isn't mine."

Apparently there is another person in town with the same name, and they are often confused for each other at doctor's offices and other places around town. In actuality, Steve is from New Jersey. He and his Casper native wife, Kathy, met in college. They both attended Montana Tech and earned undergraduate degrees in engineering. After college, they came to Casper and got married at St. Pat's. Two days later they moved to California where they both worked with Texaco as petroleum engineers. They lived in Bakersfield four years, and then moved to Pennsylvania to attend grad school at Penn State. They have been back in Casper since 2001 when they returned to complete their theses.

Five months after Bryn, now seven, was born, they graduated with degrees in community and economic development. While working on their theses, they took turns taking Bryn out of the house while the other one stayed at home and worked. The attending parent and infant did not have to wander the streets of Casper to keep the house quiet though. Kathy's parents and sister live in Casper, so they would often go to the home of one or the other. "We have a great support system in town," the couple said.

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"The most important thing to us is family and friends," Steve and Kathy agree. "Casper has all that here for us. This is our home and where we're going to stay."

The family has grown to include Meredith, who is four. Kathy has done some consulting and grant writing, while raising the girls and homeschooling them. Steve is a registered petroleum engineer and geologist working for a small, independent oil and gas company.

The girls were delightful hostesses who eagerly shared their many interests. Meredith says she knows all the names of all the fairies in the whole wide world! She also has a secret hideout stocked with all the stuff you need for one day with four friends. The essentials include: a sippy cup, toys, paper and pencils, a pencil sharpener, a computer to go online and check email, a clock so you know when play time is over, and a stamp collection.

Bryn likes to cook and has developed a breakfast and lunch menu for her in-home restaurant, Bryn's Bistro. "Bryn's Bank is not as famous to me as the bistro," Bryn said.

Both girls enjoy dance classes and participating in the Casper Children's Theater. Meredith practices gymnastics and is dancing in a ballet that tells the story of Jesus. Bryn takes classes in tap dancing and ballet. Bryn says she likes tap a little more than ballet. "It's more noisy and I get to move faster."

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Moving faster is something Bryn likes doing with her dad too. In June, Steve and Bryn competed in Laramie running and riding bikes. Bryn came in second place in her age group. Her competition included running Ĺ mile, a one-mile bike ride, and a 100-meter dash. Steve did a 2k run, a 25k bike ride and a concluding 5k run.

"Physical fitness and reading are the two things our family likes most," Steve said.

The family also enjoys traveling. When asked their favorite places to which they've traveled, the girls had no hesitation.

"I love Las Vegas," Meredith said with great enthusiasm and emphasis on the word love. "They have all these cool lights."

Bryn's favorite travel site so far is Norway, where the family visited over Labor Day this year.

When they're at home, Kathy plays on a volleyball league and spends time in her garden. "I love gardening," she said. "Half of our back yard is a big vegetable garden."

Steve is a hobby bee keeper and the girls like to help. "They wear the veil and gloves," Steve said.

"Sometimes it's a little freaky getting close to the bees," Bryn admitted.

Although it can be "freaky", it is an exciting experience. From bee keeping to gardening, from Las Vegas to Norway, the Jenkins family loves learning new things together and experiencing life.

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