Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Utah Trip for Daddy's BYU Graduation!

"Education is the great equalizer."
I remember as a child how often my father would tell me that quote.  He had such a passion and desire for each of his six children to further their education and receive higher learning.  After all, knowledge is the one thing we can take with us after this life.  There are so many reasons why I love and respect my dad.  But a huge one is that he pushed us to all better our lives and circumstances so that we would be in positions later on to serve those around us.  

Growing up we had the unique chance to travel and see different parts of the world, specifically to get to know other cultures and introduce us to the vast opportunities available if we work hard enough.  My five brothers and I all started working on our family farm at a very young age.  I didn't appreciate it at the time, but what an incredible lesson we were able to learn, not only of the value of hard work, but also the beginnings of money management.  After every paycheck we would meet with our mom and dad and immediately put aside 10% of our earnings as tithing for our church.  Then we would take another 50% of what was left and put it directly into our savings account for college.  The last 40% of our check was ours to decide what we wanted to do with, whether that was saving for a school function, trip, or toys, etc.  I remember that saving for college was simply a given.  That each of us children were going to go to college, no matter the sacrifices, it was just that important.

Through guidance and an extreme amount of financial and emotional support from my parents, I was able to graduate from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors in Science for Elementary Education and two different minors in Music and TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language.)  I was also able to do two different study abroad experiences; one in Mukono, Uganda and the other in Auckland, New Zealand.  Along with myself, each of my brothers have also graduated from BYU, except for my youngest brother, Bradley, currently finishing his Bachelors at BYUI.  Three of my brothers have also gone on to finish their Master's degrees, with another brother entering his Master's program in the Fall.  I think it's safe to say that my parent's wishes of us pursuing a higher education have come true.

What I love most about all of this, are the motives my parents had in these desires.  They didn't want us to get degrees so we could own larger homes or fancier cars.  Their desires were for us to be financially stable and independent so we could better serve those around us.  So our circumstances in life would allow for extended service and resources within our church.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and lessons my parents provided and the importance they placed on getting an education.

Ten years ago, when my dad was released from his calling as a Stake President for our church, he decided to go back to school and finish his degree.  After deciding to leave college at BYU a couple years before graduating to help build the family farm, Dad spent many years with a desire to return and finish his education.  With the growing convenience of online courses through BYU, he was able to take a couple classes each year while still working full time at the family business.  Looking back at the last 10 years of my Dad's journey and all he's had going on in his life, I laugh at the "trials" I had while in college myself; where my main focus was making it to class on time and having a broken heart every now and again.  Over the course of finishing his college education this last decade, my dad has had three children go on missions, three children get married, several international and domestic business trips (including one to North Korea), several friends, two of his grandchildren, and his mother have passed away, and he has undergone two different deep tissue brain surgeries.  Through it all he's pressed forward with his studies, until this past April 25th when he graduated with his Bachelors in General Studies from Brigham Young University at the age of 63.

To help celebrate this amazing accomplishment, four of my brothers and I flew to Utah to surprise dad for his BYU graduation.  We all greatly missed my youngest brother, Bradley, who wasn't able to make it since he had already started his spring classes at BYUI.  I was telling my friend, Whitney, how excited I was to surprise my dad, and she mentioned she was wanting to make a trip out to Utah as well to visit her mom.  We thought it would be much more fun to travel together, so we made sure we were on the same flight into Salt Lake City.  It was so much fun to travel with her and the girls.  I was going through serious Daxton withdrawals and loved the chance to help with her kiddos on the plane.  Brooke and Macy did awesome quietly watching shows or playing games throughout the two different flights we took.  They were perfect travel buddies!  
Whitney found the cutest headphones on Amazon for the girls, so they were perfectly content.  I love the picture of them both looking out the window.  

First of all, I'm super sorry to all my friends and family members in Utah that I wasn't able to see while I was in town.  Since it was just myself traveling and still in the middle of Dallas's busy season, I had amazing friends and babysitters watching Daxton at home while I was away.  We decided when we bought my tickets that it would have to be a VERY short trip.  In total I was in Utah for about three days and all of it was with my immediate family for Dad's graduation.  I was super glad that I got to see a few friends on my way to and from the airport, though.  The night I flew in, Whitney and her mom dropped me off at my good friend, Katy's, house for a couple hours.  Heather met us at Katy's house so we could have a mini NZ reunion.  It was so fun to see my New Zealand girls again!  The last time I saw them was when they came out to visit me in Florida last October.  It was great to play with cute Mafa Jo again and meet Katy's newest addition, little Merrick.

Mafa Jo was super cuddly and let me kiss all over her chunky cheeks!  I'm seriously in love with her curls!  

Glad to know that all toddlers are the same when it comes to taking pictures!

Sweet little Merrick, only a couple weeks old!
He has the most amazing lips!

Nothing's better than a newborn cuddle...

Auntie Heather taking her turn with newborn snuggles...

Love my New Zealand sisters!
Thanks so much for meeting up with me on such last minute notice.  Sorry we couldn't spend more time together, but I'm already planning out our next adventures together!
Heather was a sweetheart and drove me down to Provo.  She also let me borrow her air mattress and blankets.  It was great to get a few more minutes with her to chat, although it was definitely not long enough!  Heather dropped me off at a house in Provo that my older brother and family were renting for the week.  I wish I could put into words how great it was to be reunited with these kiddos!  The hardest thing about moving to Florida was leaving my nieces and nephews in California.  It was so much fun to stay with them over the course of the next three days while in Provo.  We had so much fun goofing off, catching up, and mandatory auntie snuggles.  I love them all so very much!

The next morning was our big reveal to our dad.  My younger brother Stuart, who was living in Provo at the time, made up some story to get mom and dad to come to the house in Provo we were all staying at.  I got his reaction on video, but will save that for another time.  Needless to say, Dad was VERY surprised and touched that we had all made the journey to celebrate with him.  The rest of the day was spent playing as a family.  We hung out at the house, went swimming at mom and dad's hotel, ate yummy food, and enjoyed being together as a family.

Little Olive had grown so much since the last I'd seen her!

We had so much fun taking crazy diving pictures...

And then even more fun when Erik started throwing his kids in the pool!

The next day was Dad's graduation.  It took place at the Smith Fieldhouse on campus at 8am.  In order to get good seats and all be able to sit together we were there around 7am, which made for a very early morning.  It was pretty weird to be back on campus.  It made me feel pretty old to be honest.  I can't believe it has been ten years since I graduated college.  I have some pretty amazing memories with some of the most incredible people during that time of my life.  I loved my experiences at BYU.

So fun to see my dad's name in the program!!
Roger Vernon Adams

Waiting for things to get started...

We had almost an entire row of people there to support Dad.
My oldest brother, Bryan and his wife, Heather.  My older brother Erik, and his wife, Heather, and their three kids Lincoln, Rulon, and Ellis (they decided to leave their youngest two, Will and Olive, at their Heather's sister's house.)  My younger brother Richard and his wife, Leisha, and their two children, Emma and Nora.  My younger brother Stuart and his wife, Angelica (who was also graduating and walking in the procession.)  My uncle Ken (Dad's oldest brother) and aunt Darlene.  My uncle Jay (Dad's youngest brother) and their dear friend, Stuart Dong.

It was so awesome that Angelica was also graduating.  She was such a strength to dad.  It was also fun, because she graduated in Elementary Education just like I had.  It was a trip down memory lane for sure!  Dad was overcome with emotion a few times, because of the magnitude of his accomplishment, so it was perfect that Angelica was there to help him make it through.  Even though they had asked us to hold our applause to the end, we were the obnoxious family that screamed, whistled, and yelled "It's about Time" as our dad walked across the stage.  To say we were all very proud would be a gross understatement!

The happy graduate!
We couldn't be happier for you daddy!

(Top Left) Dad and Uncle Jay  (Top Right) Dad with some of his grandkids Rulon, Emma, Nora, Lincoln, and Ellis  (Bottom Left) Dad with his older and younger brothers Ken and Jay  (Bottom Right) The happy graduates!  Dad and Angelica

All the grandkids wanted a turn wearing grandpa's cool graduation cap...

All the BYU graduates!
We will need to take another one when Bradley graduates as well!
(Left to Right) Bryan, Stuart, Me, Dad, Mom, Erik, and Richard
It's easy to say that we are pretty proud of our daddy!

Missing a few people, but here are just a few of our family members helping in the celebration.

My favorite picture of the happy graduates.

One proud daughter

We spent the rest of the day celebrating as a family and helping Stuart and Angelica move out of their apartment.  Obviously we all loved the massive backyard at the house we were staying at.  It was super fun to watch the grandkids playing together.

The next morning we all went out for a family breakfast.  I was super excited when I got a text from one of my favorite roommates from my BYU years, Annie.  She was also in Provo for a family member's graduation and she had seen my posted pictures on instagram.  She asked if she could meet up for a few minutes.  It was the absolute best surprise EVER!!  I loved living with Annie and absolutely cherish her friendship.  It was so much fun to spend a quick few moments together, get to meet her awesome husband, give her gorgeous little girl a squeeze, and obnoxiously sing into her pregnant belly.  I sure do love that girl!  It was so sweet of her to meet up on her way to the airport.  I'd give anything to live next to this girl again!
Thanks again, Annie, for the super fun surprise!
I love you to pieces!

After all the family festivities were finished, one of my besties, Maren, drove down to Provo to pick me up.  It was so much fun to spend some quality time with her!  We went shopping for a bit and then out to get pedicures.  It was the perfect way to catch up and relax!  I miss her so much!
After our pedicures, we met up with Janelle for a yummy dinner at Cafe Rio.  It was fun to see Janelle again, especially since I refused to say goodbye to her when she left Florida the previous week from a fun-filled vacation with me.  Not only was the food fantastic, but the company was amazing!  I love these two girls so much and count myself as super lucky to call them such dear friends.

Janelle and I

Maren and I

I was also able to meet up with my dear friend, Tracy, while I was staying in Provo.  She was such a sweetheart to come over to my brother's place and chat for a bit.  I was sad it wasn't long enough, but so so good to see her.  I realized when I got home that we somehow didn't get a picture of us together!  That's a total first!
Thanks so much for taking time out of your crazy schedule to meet up quickly, Tracy.  It meant the world to me.  I sure do love you!

After dinner at Cafe Rio, Maren and I drove up to Salt Lake area and spent the night at her place.  It was so much fun to have another slumber party with her again.  Many a good memory and road trip were made while visiting Maren, where ever new place she was living at the time!  I love her so much and am so grateful she's been in my life the past 12 years!  In the morning she took me to the airport and I made the long journey home.  I must admit, it was pretty nice traveling without my little man in tow.  I actually got to sleep and watch a movie without interruptions!  It was a pretty perfect way to end a quick awesome trip.  I was so glad to be able to make the trip out to support my daddy.  I know he was embarrassed by all the attention (and will be just as embarrassed by this post) but we wanted to make sure he knew how proud of him we are.  It's not only been his journey, but a lasting legacy he is leaving for his posterity.  What an amazing gift he has given all of us...a LOVE of learning.
Thank you daddy.

1 comment:

  1. Glad I got to see you and it is pretty unbelievable that we didn't get a picture. Maybe because it was only an hour....


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