Elder Carlson turns twenty-one tomorrow. We probably won't be seeing him that much when he gets home from Alaska this July. I thought I would share stories about him growing up, only I'll refer to him as Jake.
When Jake was a baby and a little boy he was always so cheerful and happy. He loved being outside and being apart of nature. If we ever started getting cabin fever, outside we would go no matter the season. When we visited grandparents either in Salt Lake or Southern Utah, Jake would say,"let's go on an adventure mom", usually meaning, let's go on a walk about.
As Jake got older I noticed he really liked being around his peers. His younger sister was only fourteen months younger and she also liked following J around. She was much quieter and a good listener. I have a few video's of them playing make believe and enjoying one another's company. Jake would tell his sister what to say and she didn't seem to mind. As a parent it was fun to watch and observe.
Birthday parties were a big deal in our family. Simple but fun. Once again as a parent it was such a delight to watch my kids feel so much joy being around their friends celebrating a special day.
Twice a year we had the opportunity to go to Kanab, Utah and spend a few weeks with my mom and step dad. Jake always seemed so relaxed and happy. My parents lived out away from town so one evening we were picnicking by a small lake about a mile from the house. Jake wanted to go back to the house on his own. I think he was around ten and it was starting to get dark. Later he told me on the way back he got scared when we were out of sight, so he knelt down and prayed that he would find the house and not get lost. I thought that was pretty neat for a ten year old.
Halloween has also been a favorite holiday in our family. One year when Jake got to school in his Star Wars costume he was excited that Mr. Z was wearing the same costume.
GW always liked taking a group photo before going trick or treating.
Jake tried a lot of different sports growing up. Thanks to the Provo City sports program we were able to afford and try different kinds of athletic events. When he was about seven playing on the soccer team, he didn't seem to care where the ball went. He just wanted to run around and visit with all the boys out in the field. We tried to tell him where the ball was going but he would just smile and wave to us.
When he turned eleven he informed us that he wanted to try out for the baseball draft. I was surprised since he hadn't played pitch ball since he was six. Jake didn't care he wanted to try out since some of his friends played baseball. Come to find out the team that took first place the year before had last pick of the draft so Jake got picked to be on their team. He always played left field and showed good sportsmanship. The second year with the same team they managed to win State Championship which was fun to watch. Even though Jac didn't get to play much towards the final games he was glad for the experience.
After going through all the levels at the city swimming pool, his last teacher recommend that I sign him up with the Provo Peaks Youth Swim Team. He was thirteen at the time and had no idea that it meant swimming laps every morning for two hours. When I picked Jake up the first day he was not happy with me. I told him to give it a week and then he could decide. He ended up staying for two summers which I thought was great.
From age seven to eighteen Jake had the same piano teacher, Mike Carson. He challenged J to practice hard. It was great having live music all those years. Mike has become a good friend and example. We still feel very blessed to have him in our home each week teaching Jake's younger sisters.
For two summers Jake had his own lawn mowing business. We tried to go with him when the lawn mower needed the car and trailer for work out of the neighborhood. Some of the jobs were pretty tough in the hot sun. He also liked being involved with the Provo High Marching Band. Jake liked beating on the drums and we were able to attend many parades in the Utah Valley area.
In this particular picture we took Jake's youngest sister to Disneyland and the ocean. She had never been before and it was our fourth trip to California. We really like going there and being with Jake is always fun. His sisters adore him and they cried like babies when he left on his mission. Ok maybe I did too.
Jake's last two years of high school were spent at UCAS where he made new friends again. He still keeps in contact with them and probably will for years to come. He also worked as a janitor at a near by school until he left on his mission.
Our Stake went on a pioneer trek in Wyoming and Jake really enjoyed it. He loved pulling the handcart and never seemed to get tired. He met new people in his family group and had neat spiritual experiences.
Jake was the first Carlson in the family to get his Eagle Scout award. That was a little more difficult accomplishment but we made it.
Now he's up in cold Alaska, trying to share the gospel light where ever he goes. During the winter there isn't much sunshine because it only stays up for a short time. He hasn't complained much and he's looking forward to turning twenty-one! Here he is on a P-day after catching some salmon. yum
Elder Carlson you have been a wonderful son and brother. Keep up the good work and we'll see ya in four months.