Friday, June 27, 2014


A month ago Travis graduated from Timpview High School. He graduated with honors (gold cords) and with a Regents' Scholarship (medal). 
Travis and I
There is no question who is taller now.
Travis and Brian
Look! They really do love each other.
Abby and Travis
Even though high school was officially over, track would continue for Travis for a week or two. After his impressive performance at the decathlon at BYU, Travis was invited to compete at the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic in New Mexico.
He was amazing--PR'd (set a personal record) in six events and came in 6th overall.
Travis just keeps getting better and better. No wonder he received this award at the track banquet this year.
Kellie and Brian cheered him on in New Mexico. They took the "scenic route" home and drove through the Petrified Forest.
Kellie and Travis
Kellie and a petrified log
Atop windy Navajo Bridge on Route 89A in Arizona
There are lots of changes happening in Travis' life right now. Next step . . . preparing to leave in August for his LDS Mission.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dear Rachel (#21)

Dear Rachel,

It's been a while since I've written a blog letter, and I have a few things to share to catch you up on the last couple months. First, guess who is behind the wheel now and practicing her skills?
Your dad has been a most patient teacher, although I did let Abby drive me to her soccer practice in Mapleton one afternoon. We both agreed that we wouldn't do that again for a good long while.
Speaking of teen drivers, did you see what one did to your dad's car?
Oh, he was so sad to have to let this car go! It served his mid-life crisis well, but secretly, I am glad I won't have to experience any more g-forces whenever we make hairpin turns. This accident happened as we were returning Travis' tuxedo the Monday after Senior Prom.
He had a great time. Brontë was easy to talk to and a really fun date.
Do you recognize a few other people in this photo? Once upon a time three of them were preschoolers who used to play at our house those many years ago.
High School Track has come to a close. Travis came in third place in our Region in both the 100 m and the 200 m.
Look at what Grandma W. crocheted me for my birthday. I love it! I spread it out on my bed for the photo, but it is the perfect over-sized throw for me to snuggle under, and the colors are exactly what I wanted.
For Mother's Day (or my second birthday as Kellie likes to call it since it is always so close to April 25) Abby gave me a rose she made in her Metals class. I think she did an incredible job.
Our curtain of wisteria was stunning again this year. I'm sure it is nothing like the prolific Atlanta blooms you get to see, but I love it just the same.

I love you and David too! Happy May!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Off to Medical School

Guess who is off to Medical School in New York City?
Kellie has been accepted to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai! It is a top 20 medical school and Kellie is very excited. She leaves the first week of August--a week before Travis reports to the Missionary Training Center.
We are all very happy and know that this is where she needs to be. So proud of you, Kellie!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Another BYU Graduate

A week ago (on my 50th birthday) Kellie graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Chemistry. She will also receive a teaching certificate in June when her internship at Springville High School is completed. Kellie began her undergraduate degree at the University of Utah as a collegiate athlete on their women's soccer team, but eventually transferred to BYU. Her undergraduate degree has been six years in the making and Kellie was ready.
(Brian and I before BYU's Commencement in coordinating UC Berkeley attire--unplanned)
(Brian and Kellie)
It was a unique experience for Kellie to have her dad on the chemistry faculty. He claims he tried to convince her not to major in chemistry, but she ignored that advice and loved it. She is one smart girl.
(Kellie and her Grandma Stoker)
(Kellie, Brian, and I after Convocation for The College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences)
Congratulations Kellie!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Her Gray and Yellow Room

Abby was tired of her light pink bedroom. She pleaded with us to change things up. It took a while, but eventually we complied, and she is happy. Very happy.
She had had enough of her white headboard with girly flowers and swirls. So, we dragged this one out of storage and had it painted bright yellow--Abby's choice of course. I bought the chair at a yard sale years ago for only $1. We had it painted as well. 
This photo makes me want to add two more frames to those three above her headboard. I am also reminded that I have yet to make the cushion for her window seat. I've had the foam for it for over a year, but my procrastination shows my desire for a magic wand.
The other side of Abby's room is retro-fun. For Christmas Kellie bought Abby this old art desk and stool that was being discarded from the high school where Kellie has been interning as a Chemistry teacher this year.
Ironically, at about the same time, Abby's geography teacher was getting rid of this Cold-War era map of Europe and Abby begged to take it home.
Abby is finally content with her room--especially when a feline friend visits.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I am 50 today!

How did this happen? When did this happen? I am 50 years old today!
(Me at 3 months)
I'm still quite amazed that I must label myself with that number. It's not like I woke up this morning feeling any different than I did yesterday, but I am, I suppose. Recently I found a quote attributed to Victor Hugo that says,

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age."

Oh dear.
(Me at 18)
Actually, I've felt like I've been fifty ever since I turned 47. Just the anticipation of that half century marker made me forget that my age in reality still had a "4" in front of it for the last three years. Perhaps that thinking has eased the blow of today, April 25, 2014 being my 50th birthday.
(Me at 50)

"Do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many."

Wise truth from an unknown source. I've lived, loved, laughed, cried, worried and prayed for 50 years. I'm good to go at least 50 more.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Decathlete

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break when Travis called me from school telling me he had just been cut from the varsity basketball team. It was his senior year, and it was a tough reality to face. Travis had been practicing and playing basketball since he was in elementary school. What would he do now? What would the winter be like without hours and hours of basketball? 

Soon after he walked in the door that deflating afternoon, I had my answers. Travis had already decided that he was going to focus full-time on track and that he was going to become a decathlete.* He went for a run that very afternoon. Daily exercise HAD to be part of his routine and if he didn't get that structure from school, he would create his own. 
(Travis and Coach Tripp)
All winter Travis worked out with David Stroshine at ASAP Training to help him get in his best possible physical shape. He traveled to Salt Lake twice a week to learn how to pole vault. He worked with his coaches at Timpview and even with his dad on the weekends (who threw discus and shot put in high school).
Who would have thought that he would place second overall (3A-5A) in the decathlon event (2014 BYU Multi/Distance Carnival) that took place this past weekend when he had only been training since January? We were surprised, thrilled, excited, and so very happy.
Travis, always remember that you have it in you to do hard hard things!
*A decathlon is an athletic event that takes place over the course of two days in which each competitor takes part in the same prescribed ten events (100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Missionary at 18

Last week Travis received a large white envelope from the Office of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Inside was his call to serve as a missionary in the Chile Concepción South Mission. He will serve for 24 months and will report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center on August 13 where he will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language.
(Travis and Abby)
Recently the age that a young man can began missionary service was changed from 19 to 18 and Travis wanted to assume this responsibility before he began his schooling. He will graduate from high school at the end of May and has been accepted to study at Brigham Young University, but will defer until he finishes his mission.
Travis is excited to serve the Chilean people. Although he had two years of German in high school, he is already asking us to help him learn a bit of Spanish. For some reason, the first word I thought to teach him was "leche" (milk). Once track season and graduation are over, training will probably be a bit more intense.
Life for this guy will change a lot over the next few months. He will be one of over 83,000 full-time missionaries serving throughout the world for our Church. This mother-heart will miss him terribly, but I'm so glad he wants to serve and do his duty.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kellie's Day

Kellie received her Endowment in the Provo Temple a couple weeks ago.
(Brian, Kellie, and I)
The Endowment is a special spiritual blessing. It is a sacred ordinance for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons). This day was just as significant for Kellie as the day she was baptized (if not more so.)
(Kellie, age 8, on her baptism day)
It was wonderful to have family and close friends join us.
(Kellie and Whitney)
(Alex and Kellie)
Rachel flew out from Atlanta and
(Sisters: Rachel and Kellie)
my sister, Renee, flew in from Washington.
(Me, Renee, and Kellie)
Joyful Day

To learn why temples are so important to us watch this 15-minute video. Or, here is a 5-minute one if you prefer.