The Haskell Family

The Haskell Family
December 2007

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At The End Of The Summer

Looking back, this was a busier summer than we had supposed it would be. Even though Lauren spent most of her summer in California with 'the aunties', and Rick and Leslie were left to fend for themselves, the summer included a few trips to Southern California, a kayaking trip on the Snake River below Jackson Hole, and a trip to South Dakota that we won't soon forget, but very little time at the ranch. Our time at home was spent on 'projects', which translates to Leslie making quilts, Rick building furniture, and the ongoing development of our patio and outdoor kitchen/family room. We're pretty sure this will one day be completed, it's just hard to guess when that might be though.

Lauren returned home a few weeks ago, just in time to start school at Salt Lake Community College - she's in a program that will allow her to complete her junior and senior years of college at the same time that she works through her freshman and sophmore years of college. Lots of work, but worth it! We just celebrated Lauren's 16th birthday - successfully without teenaged boys!!! It's great to have her home.

Richard checks in each week via email from Australia. He is currently in Armadale, a small town south and east of Perth, and though not remote, it's more outback than downtown. He reports that the missinary work is slow, but he and the other missionaries in his general area spend a lot of time providing service to the locals and spend a lot of thier spare time hiking and chasing wallabies and kangaroos. He seems happy and is having a great experience.

Becca and Justin came down from Logan for Lauren's birthday - it was great to spend a Sunday with them. Work and school continue to move along, and they're both ready to move on to the next phase of life - the 'after college and now what do we do' phase. They'll figure it out - they both enjoy thier jobs and love thier new home.

Jessica, Brandon and Kendall spent time in Yosemite last month and will be taking a few weeks in Cancun soon. Brandon's been hard at it as he's continued to successfully find buyers for Sudweek's Development's office condominiums (tough to do in the CA real estate market). And Jessica will have just taken her LSAT exam a few days before they leave - they'll bring Kendall to stay with Grandma and Grandpa in Utah while Mom and Dad are playing in the sun and sand. Ten days with a toddler in the house will be a real trip - Leslie's excited and Rick's trying to figure out how to keep Kendall safe from the ponds - or keep the koi safe from Kendall - or something like that. It'll be great.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Elder Richard Haskell in Australia

Richard continues to send us updates from Perth, Australia. His weekly emails are brief and rarely give much detail, but they make it clear that he's busy, enjoying the work, and having the kind of experience we all had hoped for. He and his companion, Elder Barff from Tasmnaia, are in Perth with the LDS Temple and Mission Office in their area. They actually live in an flat in Maylands a little east and north of downtown Perth. It must be an interesting place - they awake some nights ago to the sounds of a drug bust in the flat below them Richard reports that Maylands is the drug capital of Western Australia. The local members seem to take good care of them and Richard has commented a few times about the Cullimore family they seem to visit often.

Richard has tried some of the foods unique to Australia and while there are many he likes (Menties and a form of ginger ale) there are others still that aren't likely to show up on his list of favorites. He reports that vegamite is really salty and tastes kind of nasty! You can see his pictures and other posts on

Lauren's California Summer

Each of our daughters has taken one of summers while in high school and spent it in California with 'the aunties'. The aunties are Sheri Johnson, Juliana Mahlmann and Beth Bruzzone, Rick's sisters all living in central California - we sometimes refer to them as Flora, Fauna and Merriwether.

This summer is Lauren's turn and she's staying at Lost Horizons with the Johnson family. She'll spend time with the other aunties over long weekends, but for now she's learning to ride horse, clean stalls, look out for rattle snakes, and muck the pasture. She's loving it. Lauren is a good girl, seriously independent, and beautiful!

Lauren took her guitar, ipod, clothes and blow dryer and off she went! She'll return to Utah in mid-August in time to start at Iteneris early College High School where she'll complete her last two years of high school while in her first two years of college.

Jessica as College Graduate!

Jessica graduated from UC Riverside on Sunday, June 15th, Father's Day! She graduated 'cum laud' with her bachelors in Political Science. It was a great day and Jessica worked hard for a lot of years to get to this point. Credit goes to Brandon as well - he's been a great support and has seen to it that Jessica has had time to study and focus on her course work. Jessica now starts to prepare for the LSAT and expects to enter law school in the fall of 2009.

Rick, Leslie, and Lauren, Becca and Justin, and Sheri and Steve Johnson and family made it to the graduation and enjoyed the barbecue we had for Jessica on Sunday afternoon. We're all proud of Jessica and can't wait to see what she does next.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kendall has a new bedroom!

Actually she's had her own bedroom for a long time, but her mom and dad bought a new house in Lake Elsinore, California and if you know the Sudweeks' then you know it's all about Kendall! It took a few weeks for them to finish their move and they spent a lot of that time painting, putting in carpeting, shelves and electrical fixtures, and working in the yard. The place looks great!

The neighborhood is just north of Lake Elsinore and right at the base of the Ortega Mountains. They have an unusually big back yard for a southern California home and they're going to have their hands full transforming it into the yard and home they'll love. Leslie and I have been down there twice and helped out with a few projects. The first morning of our most recent trip started early as we woke up to the sound of Brandon putting in a flower bed in the front yard. He was out there digging out grass and getting things ready for border stones and day-lillies. When he outlined to me what projects he had planned for the day I realized that Brandon's going to be obsessive about his yard - we're so proud! It looks great!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Becca & Justin Ashby's 1st home

Becca and Justin just moved into their new home in Logan last week. The home is a new townhouse next to Logan' River golf course. Leslie and I went up to help them move and start to get settled. It's kind of fun to see your kids getting settled into their lives and buying a home is one of those big steps.

Becca is working at a local day care center and loves it. Of the various jobs Becca's had over the years she really hasn't had one that she loved. It's great to see her talk about what she's doing now - she loves working with these little kids - she plays her guitar, sings to them, and just shares with them the joy that is Becca. Becca just finished her junior year at Utah State and should graduate next year in early childhood education.

Justin recently took a position at West Liberty in Tremonton. He's only been there a little over three months and has been promoted twice, so he's pretty pleased. Right now he's working swing shift and that's a keeping he and Becca from seeing each other as much as they'd like, but that should change sometime soon. Justin continues to take college courses online and looks to graduate in a few years.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Elder Haskell sets off for Perth Australia

Richard left the Provo MTC on Monday, April 21st. His flight to Perth routed through Los Angeles, non-stop to Sydney, Australia and then on to Perth, lasting over 24 hours. He called us from both the Salt Lake and Sydney airports and we can't tell you how great it was to talk with him.

As we spoke to him from the Salt Lake airport, he sounded confident, excited and ready to take on the world. He told us that the MTC had turned out to be a good experience, though he was glad to be on his pay to Perth. He was assigned to be a district leader while in the MTC over a small distric of elders headed to New Zealnad and Australia. At first the MTC was difficult for him, the sitting and listening, studying and having to pay attention all of the time about bored him to tears. But by the end, the other experiences there outwieghed the tedium. He had a lot of fun with some of the elders in his district, met up with Travis Schoenfeld (a childhood friend from South Jordan headed for South America), Janis Richardson (a beautiful young woman from our ward in Sandy that entetred the MTC last wednesday bound for Ohio) and Diane Morrow (a friend of Rick and Leslie from our BYU days who runs the food services group at the MTC) He got lots of letters and emails, a big package of chips, queso and other goodies from Rick so he could have a send off party at the MTC the night before he left and cookies and cupcakes from Jessica - we're pretty sure he felt well cared for - or at least well fed!

We asked him about the most important lessons he had learned while at the MTC. His first response had to do with the scriptures. Even though our family has read scriptures together each morning for his entire life and has read the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price from cover to cover several times, and even though Richard attended LDS seminary for four years, Richard finally felt as though he was learning things through the scriptures. He was willing to admit that this was the first time he felt like paying attention - go figure. He also admitted that he had learned to just do what he is told when given instructions from those he trusts or those whose authority he respects - without questioning everything - I have to admit that I about fainted when he said this and I did everything I could to restrain myself. It just felt good that our son was evidencing that he's growing up and becoming the man we had hoped he would.

When Richard called from Sydney he was pretty wiped out after such a long trip. He still had several hours to go before boarding the flight to Perth and then another 4-5 hours in the air before he would arrive in Perth. Perth is 14 hours ahead of Utah time (13 hours ahead of California), so he left Utah on Monday evening and arrived in Perth on Wednesday at about noon. That still seems strange to me, because while he was arriving in Perth on Wednesday we were laying in bed talking about him on Tuesday night - intellectually we get it, but intuitively it still seems off.

So now Richard is on the other side of the world - he's off to a great adventure that will yield tremendous benefits and blessings for those he teaches there, for his family here in the US and mostly for Richard himself. We already miss him, but the upstairs bathroom has been clean for three weeks now and the refrigerator has never been so full for so long. We'll get used to it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Called To Serve - Elder Haskell enters the MTC

It's one of those events you plan for all of your life, or in this case, all of my son's life. As Richard's Dad, I always expected the day would come when he would serve the Lord. For years I did my best to convince Richard's older sisters to serve missions just as Leslie, thier mother, and I had each done. But in the end they each chose husbands instead of simply being assigned companions. We love Brandon and Justin, our sons-in-law, and we know the girls made great choices. While the girls may have had opportunities to serve as missionaries, Richard knew he was responsible to serve - to fulfill the direction that every young man serve a mission.

As a young teenager, Richard displayed all of the predictable traits one might imagine. Sometimes forgetfull, often defensive, always up for a good time, and never lacking in attitude, but he also rarely forgot who he was and what his duties were. I'd like to think I was, or am, the same way, but without a doubt, 'duty' is a primary focus for Richard. He would rarely have admitted to this, but now I see that he understands the trait and even strives to lead others in fulfilling thier duty to God and man.

Richard was set apart as a full-time missionary, an ordained minister of the gospel last night in our home. Stake President, Curtis Dahl set him apart, joined by Bishop John Swallow, Shane Pace, Justin Ashby and Richard Haskell, Sr.. President Dahl pronounced meaningful blessings for Richard and there was a great spirit with us. Bishop Swallow, Brother Pace, Leslie and I each bore our testimonies to Richard and offered him some last bits of counsel. Becca and Justin Ashby and our daughter Lauren were with us as well. Afterwards, our family spent the remainder of the evening talking about missions, theology, how important it is to live the tenants of the faith that you espouse and remembering just why apple pie and vanilla ice cream are among life's simple pleasures. Actually, we did more than remember - the six of us consumed an entire pie! We love Leslie's pies!

Richard enters the MTC this afternoon. In the grand scheme of things it is just one little event, and the two years during which Richard will be in Australia will ultimately be remembered as a short time of focused service. But for right now, and for us, those two years and this event have amazing import - our world is changing, in a way we've always known it would, but the knowing only tempers the reality. Our little boy, our 6'2", 200+ pound, 19 year old son, my buddy and helper is heading out and there's nothing we could or would do to change it. Richard is exactly where we've hoped he would be at this point in his life. This, by the way, falls under the heading of 'be careful what you wish for'.

So this afternoon we'll go to the MTC, become emotional as the Elders and Sisters stand and sing 'Called To Serve' and then morph into weeping ninnies as we go out one door and our son goes through another. But we'll keep in mind that we're going out the door, going back home and he'll be going into a doorway that will bring him some of the defining experiences of his life. We can only presume what some of those will be, they're different for every missionary - but what is common to all missionaries is the inescapable reality that the years of diligent service, began as a boy, lead to rich lives lived by honorable men, dutiful priesthood holders, faithful husbands and loving fathers. What a glorious progression, what an amazing experience, what an impressive young man - our son.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter 2008

Our little family was all together for Easter, and while that may not seem like a big deal, it's a big deal to us! Jessica, Brandon and Kendall flew in from Southern California and Becca and Justin came down from Logan and it was a great holiday. It seems to me that we took lots of pictures, but when I go back through those I took it seems almost all of them are of Kendall finding Easter Eggs on Sunday afternoon - Leslie did shoot some video footage of our outing to the tubing hill at Soldier Hollow on Saturday - beautiful day - great fun.

On Saturday night we went to Fratelle's - a new Italian restaurant in Sandy's Quarry Bend developement. If you haven't been there, we'd highly recommend it. Locally owned and operated, great food - the clam and mussells are some of the best we've had anywere!

As usual, we ate too much, stayed up too late, and were sad when the weekend was over, but we love having all of our babies together. This was the last time we'll all be together until after Richard comes home from Australia. Did we take pictures of all of us? Of course not, but I did take about 100 pictures of Kendall!

Check out this video clip - who's on the clip - well who do you think? Kendall of course!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lauren's smile - oh baby, oh baby!

Lauren got her braces off this last week - one small step for man, one giant leap for a teenaged girl! Without question, Lauren is a beautiful young woman and now has a beautiful smile to match.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Richard's Farewell

We know they're not really called farewells anymore, but we don't know what else to call it. Richard spoke in sacrament meeting on March 16th prior to going into the MTC on April 2nd. He spoke along with his friend Erik Van Otten and former Young Men's President Dan Tongish. The three each spoke on different aspects of the atonement and Richard also discussed Joseph Smith's relationship with the Savior and how that helped bring a greater focus to the blessings of the atonement.

We had an informal gathering at our home afterwards where many of Richard's friends came and visited. It was impressive to see his friends, great young men and women, many returned missionaries themselves, interact. It reminded me of something Ezra Taft Benson was quoted as saying; 'you can tell a lot about a man by the books he reads and the friends he keeps'. As Becca would say, 'true story'!

Becca and Justin came down for the day and we spent a great afternoon together - we missed Jessica, Brandon and Kendall of course. We'll all be together for Easter though and we're looking forward to it. Just days later Richard will go into the MTC and it will be at least two years before we're all together again. Joy and sadness!

Pictured are Richard Haskell Jr. with friends Josh Hicken and Erik Van Otten - Josh has been called to serve in the Czeck Republic Mission and enters the MTC in late May.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Gammill has landed!

Leslie (lovingly known as 'Attila the Quilter') has looked forward to the arrival of her Gammill quilting machine since Christmas - well she's actually looked forward to it for longer than that, but it was her Christmas present and since then she's been pretty worked up over its arrival. Just after Christmas she and Rick reworked her craft room - (tore out some wall sections, added some cabinets, etc.) in preparation for the new addition to the family - almost sounds like a baby right? It might as well be - it takes up more room and Leslie has already spent more time with it than with any of the rest of us. Were it not for Richard's farewell this coming Sunday we're pretty sure she'd be down there with the baby right now!
After Leslie gets comfortable with the machine she'll begin stitching quilts for others under the name of her new business, Signature Quilting - check out her web site at - you can also find her at - no kidding!

And if you come to the house and nobody answers the door - you might just want to tap on the basement window at the front of the house - that's the baby's room and she may be in there quietly stitching away.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Evelyn Walker 2/27/1926 - 3/1/2008

Our Aunt Evie passed away on March 1, 2008 in Morgan Hill, California. She will be greatly missed. Evie (Evelyn) was the daughter of Cecil and Annie Walker (Rick's maternal grandparents). Rick and his siblings all visited Eve the week prior to her passing and then were all present at her funeral. Cyndy and Don Roen cared for Eve for the better part of the last 30 years and deserve great thanks from the greater Walker/Haskell family - they were her closest friends and most caring companions.
If you will 'click' on the collage to the right, you can view many pictures of Evie throughout her life with many of her loved ones.

Rick and Leslie (inspired by the work of Rod and Teresa Royce) built Eve's casket and transported it to California. It was a tremendous experience and helped focus our thoughts on Eve's life and our many memories of her. Evie was more than my aunt - she was more of a second mother to me and cared for me when my own mother couldn't. We will love her forever.

Eve was laid to rest in the Walker Family Plot on March 8, 2008 at the Los Gatos Memorial Park.

Richard's Mission Call

Richard has been called to the Austrlia Perth Mission, entering the Provo MTC on April 2, 2008. As you can imagine, we're all excited, but it's been great fun to see him prepare for this.

His 'farewell' will be held on Sunday, March 16 at 11:00 am at the Sandy Crescent Ridge Stake Center (110th South 13th East) with an informal gathering at the Haskell home afterwards.

Richard's mailing address while at the MTC is:
Elder Richard Haskell, Jr.
Australia Perth Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 East
Provo, Utah 84604

Richard's mailing address while in Australia is:
Elder Richard Haskell, Jr.
Australia Perth Mission
PO Box 185
Tuart Hill WA 6939

Friday, January 11, 2008

Haskell Home Addition in Sandy

The much anticipated and labored over addition to the Haskell home in Sandy was completed just in time for Christmas - YAHOO! Rick and Leslie spent most of the late summer and fall working on the addition to thier master bedroom and bath - it turned out exactly as we had envisioned - except for a few scrapes and nail gun incidents along the way. Rick and Richard only required one trip to the doctor each, well maybe two for Rick, to help fix some minor problems - but then what's a home project without a little blood, sweat and tears?

The project took longer than we thought - of course - and phase two will have to wait until spring. The outdoor family room is partially completed - fireplace is in, etc., - but the outdoor kitchen will have to wait for the budget and weather to recover.