S: Celebrating Vicki's 50 Years
BC: This Book Honors the Life you have lived so far... Happy 50th Birthday
FC: Vicki Russell 50th Birthday
1: 50 Years | 1961 | 2011 | Your story began on January 23, 1961. You have had 50 years of experiences which we want to share back to you in this book. You have been a wonderful Daughter, Wife, Mother and Friend to all of us.
6: Rock Springs
7: Class of '79 Skyline HighSchool
8: Born Jan 23, 1961
10: Our Dating Years..
11: Often at night I wonder what it would be like to be alone in this world, and then I think of you. God has created each of us to bring together one eternal happiness. It is for this reason I have chosen you to be with me for eternity. Will you marry me.
12: Our Special Day
13: Sorry about the brown Tuxes | Wedding Day August 28th 1981
14: We have changed over the years, but the sparkle in your eyes is as bright as ever, and my love for you is even stronger.
15: XO | We had wonderful memories during our first years of marriage.
16: Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there. ~Amy Li
17: Sissy, Just thought I would call you that for old times sake! Although it is a nick name, it gives me warm feelings inside and a heart full of gratitude for the wonderful big sister you are to me. Yes, there were the occasional tickle tortures and hiding under beds to scare me during sleepovers that I didn't particularly like when I was young, but not once can I think of a time that we yelled or disagreed with one another. I often think about that and how grateful I am that I never have to worry that you will ever turn your back on me. Being nine years apart seemed like a big gap when we were little, but now I feel like we are the same age. Because you married Brent when I was only in 5th grade, some of my greatest memories I have with you involve being an Aunt at such a young age and spending a lot of time over at your house. But, I have to say, my best memories have been over the past decade. They aren't monumental things, but the simple things, like talking for hours on the phone about our kids or about all of our aches and pains as we grow older! I feel like I can talk to you about anything and you always have great advice. You have always been such a great support to me. I remember I was crying on my first week of Jr. High because I didn't know how to study for my science exam. You came into my room and taught me how to study and I became the top student in that class that year! That truly built up my self confidence and made me feel so happy that I had an older and wiser sister to help me. You paved the way for me and made my choice of joining the Church an easy one! I wanted to share in that same happiness that you had and follow in your footsteps. On my wedding day, as much as I would have loved to have loved to have Mom and Dad there, it was such a great comfort to have you there with me on that very important day. You have always been such a great Aunt to my children and they truly feel of your love and support. Brooke said, "My favorite times with you have been when we sleep over and you would always make us big breakfasts! That is my favorite meal of the day and I always looked forward to it!" Alyssa loved it when you came to Texas to visit and "you stayed up until 2:00 a.m. talking and laughing with us about your engagement story!" Seth knows that when we visit Utah "we always get to go to Boondocks with her family and I love that place!" Cami says that "she always gives me a big hug whenever she sees me!" Todd and I are so grateful for all you have done for our family. From helping in our basement (and getting carpel tunnel from it, sorry!),to hosting Holiday dinners at your home, helping Brooke get settled in Idaho, and always opening your home for us to stay when we visit. We love you very much and hope that this year will be filled with lots of love, happiness, peace, and laughter. Happy 50th Birthday Sis! I Love You!!! Brenda
18: "When Vicki would come to our home on vacation she would really help me clean house. She used to love to take all of my salt and pepper shakers out of the cabinet and dust them, there were almost 200 sets so it was quite a job. She would then play with them before putting them all back which was also a job. Vicki used to get after her cousins to not make messes. My kids would love to have their cousins come to visit." ~Aunt Judy "A few years ago the phone rang. I answered it. Following is the conversation as well as I can remember. Ed: Hello. Vicki: Who is this? E: Its me. (trying to be cute) ,V: Really, who is this?! (sounding a smidge irked) E: Uncle Ed ! (my voice may have been a tad higher) V: I Don't Have an UNCLE ED!!! E: (with a mellow, soft tone) Do you have an Aunt Judy? V: .......(I could hear wheels turning) Yes...Oooh (now happy and relieved) Uncle Ed, how are you? Anyway, I'll not soon forget that Vicki had completely forgotten me. Well, she is FIFTY and can well be excused for forgetting things, even Uncles. Have a good one, Vicki. ~Love me" I remember when we would all go down to Grandpa and Grandma's house and ride the mini bikes. Vicki got on one and lost control and headed right for the propane tank. She finally got it turned out of the way. Boy, were we all scared." ~Danny "One of the great times I can remember is when Vicki, Donna and I walked from Grandpa's house to Tinsley's gas station to get a soda. After that we made our way to the Muscotah cemetary and then would tell ghost stories all night until I was scared to death. Good old times! Loved having them visit." ~Ron | Favorite Memories
19: Vicki, When I was asked to write about some past memories, I just set back and my thoughts took me all the way back to Salt Lake at your first home. I’ll always remember the picture your mom took of us sleeping out on the back patio. We were told to fake like we were sleeping for the picture, which I know is still around. The many visits over to Kip and Wendy’s home . The trip up to Wyoming, remember the little shack that was tilted and it made us think we were walking sideways. Many other S.L. trips with us staying over at Paul and Alice’s house with all those fancy wind chime’ on the back porch. Your visits up to Grandpa and Grandmas house when we would go on excursions and Grandpa would pull us in the wagon with his tractor. My 4 year stay on Hillsden Dr. with you all and Nikki. What’s funny is when I was living with you guys, you were just starting to date Brent, who I still have not met. We all had fun back then but now that we're getting on, the memories bring on tears. Love you always, Randy "Some of my fondest childhood memories of growing up in Horton,Ks was being so excited for the week that the Woods' family would come for their yearly visit to our neighbors, the Momans. I was more Brenda's age and played with her but my memory that I have of Vicki was being in awe of how beautiful she was and wondering why she was always doing homework or schoolwork and in the summertime no less. Not sure if you were taking summer classes or what. I would like to say, "Happy Birthday Vicki" and thank you for being such a special part of the best times of my life. You are still a beautiful person inside and out." Birthday Blessings! Amy Richling Long
20: Happy 50th Birthday Vicki, It doesn't seem possible 50 years has passed since you came into our lives. We were blessed to have a beautiful, healthy little girl and we discovered parenthood as one of life's greatest joys. We have watched your journey from an innocent, sweet infant to the special, loving and caring daughter, wife, mother and friend you are today. We've had fun reminiscing over the past 50 years of your triumphs, trials and achievements and would like to share some thoughts with you. Even at an early age friends were an important part of your life as they are today. One of your attributes is your ability to be a caring, faithful and a loyal friend. You've always been able to respond to the needs of your family and friends in spite of your own health issues. When you were almost 9 years old, you became a big sister which changed your life considerably. We were a little concerned as you had been the only child for so long and had the complete attention of your parents, but you loved Brenda at first sight. You are and always will be a loving sister to her as well as best friends.
21: You have always had a tender heart, especially when it comes to animals (which I am sure comes from your Mother's genes). You've always loved and taken good care of your pets. We know you have special memories of Popcorn, your bunny, Nikki, your loving dog and now Roxy. Hate to tell you this, but I think Roxy likes us better. Vicki, your decision to become a member of the LDS Chrurch 32 years ago, was the beginning of a wonderful spiritual journey for our family. You were the first person on both sides of our family to be baptized in the LDS faith. Do you remember the day you told us you wanted to be baptized? We trusted that you had given it much thought so we gave you our blessing, but also in the same breath told you we were satisfied with our own church affiliation and to not try and convert us. After many years and I'm sure with many prayers from our family , we were baptized on August 14, 2009 and sealed to our family for time and etenity in the Salt Lake Temple a year later. Thank you! We are so grateful to you for being a caring, thoughtful, and loving daughter and for giving us a wonderul son-in-law and three amazing Grandchildren. Have a wonderful birhtday! Wish we could be there to help you celebrate. Much love, Mom and Dad
22: Happy 50th Vicki | Vicki As you celebrate your 50 years of life, I would like to recount a few of my memories we have had together. First of all, you have been given many gifts. The one that especially stands out is the gift of listening. You are always there to listen and to encourage others. I appreciate the times you have listened to me. We have had so many great times together, from the cruise, birthday celebrations, our furniture trip to North Carolina and so many more. I remember the good time we had on our girls trip to North Carolina when on our way home Steven called you and told you that Roxie had escaped out of the back yard and they couldn't find her. You immediately fell apart and were so distraught knowing that Roxie would not survive unless they found her. I knew it was going to be a long trip home with the emotions you were feeling. It was at that time I realized just how much Roxie meant to you. It wasn't until 15 minutes later that Steven called you back and said, "April Fools” that a sigh of relief came to you. You weren't so happy with the joke he thought would be so funny. Everyone else seem to get a good laugh. It was not a good joke to play and I'm sure Steven paid for it. I just want to thank you for your personal friendship and the great sister-in-law that you are. Hope that good health and good times are yours in the years to come. Love Debbie
24: ~ Vicki.. Happy 50th Birthday | I think that for the next 50 years, you had better count on getting your picture taken with a Balli camera whenever you are around. As I looked through all of our pictures to find just the perfect one to send you, I realized that I had under 10 pictures of you, and that is counting group family pictures. I know that you always hide from the camera, so watch out! It's nice to take this opportunity to celebrate your life and to recognize all the things that we love about you. I think the greatest memories that we all have of you as we have come in and out of town, is that you have always taken an interest in each one of us in our family. You approach us with questions about what we are doing,how we are feeling and really taking an interest in our lives. I think that you have a gift for listening to others, and making us feel like we are the most important person in the room. You have been great to all the Balli children who have come to school in Utah, inviting them up for dinner and to be with the cousins, and family. You have showed great love and concern for Mom and Dad in these past few years, and have taken such good care of them. Thank you for your sincere love. We hope that the next years will be happy ones for you!!
25: 50 Years | Robyn & Rick Balli
26: We love you Vicki and hope that you have a very special 50th Birthday!! | David & Barbara
27: Vicki always has the time to talk with you. She is always wanting to know what is going on in your life, and helps to analyze what the best thing would be for you to do. She should have been a Family Therapist, because she is always helpful in providing the right therapy medicine at the right time. I always remember Vicki with her Diet Coke in hand, and hearing the ice crunching in her mouth. Vicki loves to go shopping! Vicki likes a clean environment!. I remember a family vacation that we took as a family to Hilton Head, S.C. Vicki would not allow any of her family to unpack their things until she cleaned the whole condo. She went out and bought cleaning supplies, and came back to the condo and cleaned everything before she allowed her family to settle in. I remember one of her famous sayings. “Come on Brent, we got to go”.
28: Dear Vicki We consider it an honor and a privilege to participate in the request of Brent to honor you on your 50th Birthday. You have been very special to us in our lives and we consider you a “daughter”. It has been said that true compassion for each other is a mark of a true Latter-day Saint. Throughout the time we have known you, you have always been sensitive to the needs of others who are suffering from life’s struggles. You have always exhibited mercy, tenderness and kindness to all members of our family and to your neighbors and friends, who are in need. As we are all aware, in recent years, we have had some unexpected health issues which has caused us to be under medical care and assistance. Every time that we have had this problem, you have been most willing and anxious to be of help. These experiences have many times happened in an inconvenient time for you to respond, but you were always there to help us out. Whether is was a late hour at the Emergency Room or a doctor’s office call, you were always anxious to be of help to us. We have appreciated all the help you have given us with our transportation needs. Jesus, Himself, set the perfect example of “compassion”. As recorded in James, He said, “The Lord is very pitiful of tender mercy.” During the past month, we have shared some spiritual experiences with you and your family members in regards to the “sealing of your parents”. How wonderful it was to witness the love your have for one and other. We were so grateful to be a part of this great blessing.
29: We feel fortunate that you and Brent have an interest to include us in many of your activities. We love being with you and your family. We always have a wonderful time together, whether it is on a trip or going on a temple excursion or just having fun playing games together. You always try to include us in your schedule. We are aware, as a family, of all the attributes that you have . We will always remember that Vicki Russell always exhibits love and laughter when she is around other people. It could be said of her that she has always been able to bring “sunshine” to the lives of others. We love you Vicki and hope you have a very happy birthday and many, many more. Love, Nan & Earl
30: Vicki and I go WAY back! –to Eastwood elementary to be exact. I remember Vicki as very outgoing and popular in elementary school. She had a lot of friends and I on the other hand was very reserved and I am sure, not many people remember me from then. Vicki and I were well liked by our teachers. Once, we were asked to record our classmates grades in the grade book. The teacher (was it Mr Straley or Winward?) told us to NOT tell anyone what their grades were. Well, I would have died before I did something against the teachers request. Not Vicki! She told anyone who wanted to know their grades. I was horrified! She laughed it off. Can you see why the kids all liked her and paid no attention to me?? Vicki and I roomed together for our one and only semester at BYU in Provo. We had a great time. We stayed up late at night talking about boys. Vicki was dating Brent at the time and she and Brent lined Doug and I up. He became my husband who I adore; so, Doug and I are really indebted for Brent and Vicki for this. Brent and Doug were mission companions and Brent's family was VERY good to Doug when he moved to Utah. Vicki, Shelley Hair and I planned a very fun date one night for the boys. We sent the boys on a scavenger hunt (I believe it was Halloween) and to their surprise, the three of us dressed up like prostitutes and became their “prize” at the bus station downtown SLC. They were 3 lucky guys!! I remember the looks we got at the station while waiting. Vicki accidentally spilled her money out in the station being true to form and all Well, Vicki and Shelley went on to marry their dates of the night, Brent and Neil. I permanently frightened my date away (thank goodness)! When Vicki and I had small children, we would occasionally get together and take them to the park, zoo or wheeler farm. She was so cute with her little ones. Watched them like a hawk. Taught them well and never let them know that she was a hellion when she was young! Vicki is the type of friend that I can go for weeks and weeks and not talk to. When we do finally get together, it is like we were never apart. This is true friendship. She accepts me for who I am and the strange things I may do. She is interested in our life and our children. She is happy for us when life is good; she is compassionate towards us when we struggle. I loved seeing her glow as Janessa grew from a tiny preemie into such a beautiful young woman, when Steven and Jason served missions, when her cute parents were baptized and just recently when her family was sealed. Vicki is truly a “one of a kind friend” and I am thankful that she has allowed me to be a part of her life. I am also thankful that I am not as old as her. Love you Vicki! xoxoLaurie | Friends
31: Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. - Robert Brault | Laurie Lesher
32: Happy 50th Birthday
33: Dear Vicki, Wow the BIG 50! Do you realize we go back at least 20 years? I have so many memories it's hard to know where to start . You were the very first person I was given to visit teach here in this neighborhood. I think Heavenly Father wanted to get us together right from the start. I think He knew that we would need each other. We have shared lots of ups and downs (especially on the scale - ha) and it looks like that particular area will continue for awhile. One special day for me was a hard one for you. I don't even know if you remember. It was when Janessa was in the NICU and I came up and spent a few hours with you. We had lunch together there. It was really quite a spiritual day. I was grateful I could be with you and wished I could have done more. I rejoiced when you were able to bring Janessa home. Remember how we contemplated home schooling or that weird school for our boys in junior high? It was a tough time but I don't know what we were thinking. We would have really gone over the edge if we'd actually done it. And how many hours do you think we spent scrapbooking? I never liked the actual doing particularly but I had a great time with you. You probably saved me hundreds of dollars in counseling fees over the years with all the problems we talked about and solved. You are truly a friend of all seasons! I hope it continues forever. I treasure our friendship more than you'll know. I'm looking forward to new adventures in the future and maybe someday I'll even be able to golf like you! CONGRATULATIONS AND HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY! love, Maurine | HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Vicki
34: Vicki, | Thanks for your Wonderful Friendship | I remember the first time I met Vicki as a new member of the Ward I thought to myself that is someone I want to be friends with. Lucky for me that has happened and I have been blessed immeasurably because of it. Every memory I have of Vicki includes one vital thing - when I am with her I am a better person. Vicki has a knack for always elevating the level of any conversation, with her it is more interesting, more educated, more uplifiting and just more enjoyable. I was thrilled to be able to take a trip with Vicki to St. George and Las Vegas, and the drive down flew by! We talked books, philosophies, parenting, gospel subjects and so much more, when we arrived in St. George I could have spent several more hours in the car just talking.
35: "The friends we meet on the path of life make the trip worth while." | Vicki also has taught me how to be an amazing friend. Last year as I was going thru some major life changes, I always knew I could call her any time and she would be there. I did call her many times and she was always there with a listening ear, help with rides for my kids, anything I needed she willingly gave! I look to her as a wonderful example of selfless love in a friend. Vicki, Happy Birthday! Thanks for your wonderful friendship - you are loved!! Michelle Hansen ________________________________________
36: We love you Aunt Vicki!!! | Our favorite memories of Vicki are going on trips, Roxy and Tucker playing together, and playing games. We especially like "dropping the old lady" on Vicki! (Now that you are 50, we'll have to call her Dirty Nora.) We hope your 50th birthday is one that you will never forget. -The Lelegren Family | The Lelegren Family
37: L | Love, The Gilberts | Happy Wonderful Birthday
38: Happy 50th Vicki | Love, Sheila
39: Where do I even begin! When I think if Vicki, the words 'true friend", come to mind. Vicki has the quality of being an excellent listener. I love her dearly. She is a true friend in every way possible She has been here for me through thick and thin. She never judges, just always wants to help. We have had more fun these past 20+ years, she and I! Throwing diet cokes over the fence, Sharing a dorm at BYU for Youth Conference, Sitting out on the cruise deck looking for Dolphins and just being.... .I have seen Vicki's courage, as she has delt with Janessa being in the NICU. She is a wonderful Mother, and goes far beyond the call of duty... she loves Steven, JAson, and Janessa with everything she has. My life is far more blessed and enriched with Vic in my life! She has taught, and continues to teach me. I know all of this is because she is older and much wiser than me!!! HAHA! Love you VIc! Sheila Gilbert
40: Dear Vicki, Wow! Where do I begin...when I think of Vicki and the many memories we have made over the years we have known each other, I find myself smiling and laughing. I also want to reach for a tissue to wipe the tears of gratitude that I have for our friendship. When I think of Vicki I think of the true meaning of a friend: One who knows all about you and loves you just the same. I can always count on her for the truth...even when I don't want to hear it. I can count on her to listen and understand my heart through my frustrations or tears. She can always make me laugh and gets my jokes about life and things I could not say to anyone else. I have always been good at having a public face, but not with a true friend like Vicki...she always sees through it. Vicki, is always doing for others quietly like making extra dinner for someone, going to visit, listening to a heavy heart, or picking something up for someone in need. She is truly in full time service! I love her for the great person she is and the person I am when I am with her! Here's to many, many, more laughs and dreams! Love you always, me Tami
42: Great Friends
43: Cruising 9 times with Friends and Family
46: Janessa Russell
47: Dear Mom, Happy 50th Birthday to the best Mother ever! As I think back to when I was younger till now, a lot of amazing things have happened in my life and we have shared many memories as Mother and Daughter! I don’t think anyone can ever have a relationship like ours. Mom, I may not have told you this, but you are my best friend and I can tell you anything about (friends, school and BOYS) and I know that you will be there to listen to me and tell me about your experiences and help me through all of my struggles. You have always been there for me when I was in Elementary and Middle School and just cried about a certain thing that happened that day. The first person I would come to was you and knew that you will have some type of story to cheer me up with! You have always been there for me and especially my friends! You don’t know how cool it is to be able to hear your friends say “Oh I love your mom so much, she gives the best advice and is so fun to talk to!” Let me just say that is so true! Whatever I’ve tried to achieve in life you have always been there backing me up and supporting me all the way! I remember how scared I was to go to volleyball for the very first practice because I didn’t know much about the sport and would be joining a team and wouldn’t know anyone! You told me that everything would be okay and that you just need to have a smile on your face and talk to the girls on your team and be outgoing! And guess what? It worked! No matter what sport I decided to try to play you and Dad would always be there for me and I thank you for that and letting me have those experiences. I know that I was meant to be on the earth at this time and I am here for a reason and I’m so grateful that I am here to live on this earth and have an amazing family and especially an outstanding Mother! You are such an amazing example to me with all of the many things you do on a daily basis! I can’t even imagine how you live with your diseases every single day and how hard that must be, but you always have a positive attitude about it! That shows that you are such a strong woman! We have already spent sixteen amazing years together as mother and daughter and I can’t wait for more memories to come! I’m so grateful for all you do for me in my life and for the example you set for me! You make me want to be a better person. I am truly grateful to be your (only) daughter =). I hope you have a great birthday. Thank you so much for being such an awesome mom I couldn’t ask for anyone else! I love you SO much! Love, Janessa
48: Happy Birthday Mom- I hope you know how much I love you and admire the life you have lived over these past 50 years. I could not have asked for a more caring and sensitive Mother and its been such a great blessing being able to go to you with any questions or concerns in my own life; even if most of those questions happen to be about girls! I will always remember the years when I was sick and in and out of the hospital, you were there every step of the way and gave me courage to get through it. You really are my best friend and I am so blessed to be your son. I love you. Jason
49: Love Ya, Jason
51: Mom, First and foremost we need to talk about the fact that you are turning 50. Now most of us are aware and understand that 50 is really really old. For those of you who do not understand, 50 is the age where a lot of things happen, for example: At 50, you no longer run on the treadmill, you power-walk. At 50, the shows you grew up watching on television, went to nick at nite and are now off network television for good. At 50, you may be asked by your waitress if you qualify for a senior citizens discount. But above all others at 50, you will have done more good for your children then they could ever come close to repaying your for. Mom you are fantastic, amazing, great, and beautiful. I am so lucky to have you as my Mother, you are the kindest person, someone who I enjoy showing off to my friends and those I date, you have always been there when I was seeking advice, you have always known when I am struggling, you are quick to compliment, your cooking is delicious, and have been an amazing example to me! No wonder I look for those same qualities in a wife. Thanks for all you have done, do, and will do. I love you so much and am forever indebted to you for all the amazing things you have done for me.. Love, Steve
53: New Zealand | Australia | Steve Erwin | Seeing the World....
55: a | Vicki's Favorite Pictures
56: Together | Cruising Together | Celebrating Together | Exploring Together
57: Vicki, Let me close out your book, by telling you how much I love you. I have spent the last 30 years with you and every year I have grown closer to you. You truly compliment my weaknesses, making us stronger as a couple and making me a better individual. We have had some wonderful experiences over the past 30 years, including going on some amazing trips. You have also had some hardships, which have made you stronger. Today we celebrate your 50th Birthday. It is a time to celebrate a life of memories. May this book remind you of some of the experiences you have had, remind you of those who have made a difference in your life. This book shows the love we all have for you. You have made everyone of us better as a result of the life you have lived. Happy 50th Birthday, Love, Brent
58: Happy 50th Vicki Love your Family and Friends