Happy Sweet 16 to Bode!


I can’t believe you’re 16 today! As I write this, I’m recovering from COVID-19 and even though we’re 2.5 years into the pandemic, the rest of you have been miraculously spared. You have just returned from a week-long backpacking trip in the Uinta Mountains for High Adventure. And this summer has been a high adventure, indeed. You have rafted the Snake River in Jackson Hole with your friend Cameron’s family. You attended FSY (For the Strength of Youth) at Snow College with your best buddies Evan, Eli and Henry. You are a mountain bike coach at Soldier Hollow with Evan and, as I’m told, you are patient and kind with even the most difficult kids. It has also opened your eyes to parenting and after your first exhausting week, you informed me, “I don’t want to have kids until I’m able to pay someone to watch them for me.” Sound parenting strategy, Son.

Evan’s family built a gorgeous new home with a pool so you’ve enjoyed lazy pool days, backyard volleyball and long mountain bike rides. This has been the year of hard things as you’ve learned to physically push yourself to your limits. You backpacked 50 miles with the Scouts last summer in the Uintas and just did it again with your buddies on High Adventure. You took weight lifting and CrossFit classes your sophomore year and you have grown passionate about your fitness. You competed on the Comp Team Nordic at Soldier Hollow and you have become a great downhill skier as well. 

You placed in the second highest group at your mountain biking time trial last month. Instead of feeling overwhelmed that you’re now competing against much faster and more skilled riders, you are stepping it up. You made the goal to bike 100 miles in a week. You ended up biking 124 miles. In another week, you biked 40 miles in a day. You had some ups and downs in your rookie bike season but qualified for the State Championships in St. George. Touted as the longest and most punishing course they had ever created, it was your time to shine because you have been conditioned for the long and the hard.

You are in your second year working at the ranch and I love working side-by-side with you as we tend to our sheep friends. For the most part, it has gone smoothly with the exception of the really cold, frozen days and what we shall only refer to as The Barnyard Massacre when a predator decimated 99% of your chickens and turkeys. And then you had to carry off a dead goat on another day and peel off a dead mouse from your freaked-out mother’s foot. But you never complain and just do what needs to be done. Your generous paycheck may have something to with that as well: Jared pays you $60 for a couple of hours of work a week.

We hosted our Swiss exchange student, Maelle, this year and she fit in seamlessly with you as another sister. In a few weeks, we are welcoming Pablo from Spain into our home. We hadn’t intended to host another student but when we talked about it, you divulged that you have always wanted to be a big brother and that made my heart melt because I didn’t have to give birth to this one. Hopefully, it’s a win-win.

You have a lot of friend groups. Church friends. Mountain bike friends. Neighborhood friends. Friends from my mom circles. Ski team friends. School friends. Scout friends. Band friends. You went to your first dance, Preference, with your friend Brielle and had a great time. You enjoy hanging out on Charlie’s sport quart with him and Charlie. You lost your friend Titus to suicide this year which was a heartbreaking loss for everyone. But I was very touched when you, without provocation, reached out to one of his closest buddies and told him you were a safe place if he ever needed to talk. Men’s mental health matters and I hope you remember it’s OK to not be strong; always be on the lookout for people who are struggling and seek help when you are.

You had an insanely busy year. You traveled for mountain bike and ski races and Scout campouts. You spent fall break in St. George and  Zion National Park with the Mosses where we climbed Angel’s Landing, biked Snow Canyon and played pickleball. You went to Canada for Christmas as we nearly froze to death (it was the 9th coldest place on earth). We went to Sun Valley with the Iversons, Seversons and Bairds for my 50th birthday where you showcased your Nordic skiing prowess at Galena Lodge and we had so much fun playing hockey. We had the best time in San Francisco for Spring Break and a few weeks later, you went on a band trip to Disneyland where you had a blast, barely slept and learned (the hard way) after your day at the beach that you need to RUB IN your spray sunscreen.

All this and you got straight As in school and grew your biggest pumpkin ever at 675 pounds. Sadly, this year’s pumpkin was at war with the neighborhood deer and it lost. Big time.

You tried to pick up a couple of classes this summer but ended up dropping your ACT prep course because who wants to study grammar in the summer but you completed your Lifetime Fitness Class and you’re doing an online Wall Street bootcamp to learn about investing.  Hadley will be studying to become a Master Medical Aesthetician in the fall and in her immortal words, “I will make us beautiful; Bode will make us rich.” No pressure.

You did a beautiful job speaking in church yesterday about hard things, making good choices with our media, and the Parable of the Talents. You called out Bishopric member Brother Studdert for making you speak the day before your birthday but said, “Don’t worry, you can make it up to me tomorrow” and he did with a treat bag of chocolate. Well played.

You have been given so many gifts but as your parents, we most appreciate your kindness and goodness. We heard a quote about successful relationships are when you can freely give 100% and don’t expect anything in return. Dad observed that is how you live your life and is why you’re so beloved by everyone around you. You served as President of your teacher’s Quorum. Your leaders loved you. The boys loved you.

We feel like we’ve barely seen you this summer but you’re filling your life with so many good things that we can’t be sad about it. What a light you are to the world. Continue to magnify those talents you’ve been given and, with the Lord’s help, you’ll be unstoppable.

We love you,

Mom and Dad

P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, see birthday letters 1, 234 5,  6, and 78 910, 11121314 and 15.

Other Pictures

40 miler with Cameron

Disneyland Band Trip

Snow College FSY


King’s Peak

Moab Boy’s Trip

Sun Valley

With Titus and Spencer

Personal Best Pumpkin

Snow cave campout

Priest campout

High Adventure

San Francisco

Lagoon Western

Spring Skiing

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