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The Cory and Renee Sterling Family

02/01/2008 - Fresh and rosy-cheeked from their adventures in the snow, the Sterling children join their parents and me in their family SUV where we sat visiting while the kids played. We've had the heater running so they warm up in no time. They also eventually warm up to me.

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The youngest, Elaina, age 5, is eager to be the first of the children to be interviewed. I ask her what she likes to do. Her enthusiasm and energy "happify" my heart. She likes sledding, jumping on the tramp, riding a trailer bike behind Mom or Dad, watching movies, playing video games, and playing king-of-the-hill on the snow hill at school. When traveling with the family, she likes swimming and diving in the waves of the beaches of Mexico and the Bahamas. She also likes her pre-kindergarten class at Shepherd of the Hills school where she is learning to speak Spanish and play the violin.

Eight-year-old Clay goes next. His enthusiasm grows with each thing he lists. He likes drawing, playing games on his Play Station 3 (a rare event), building all kinds of Legos, playing outside with his friends, and playing soccer. In school at Fort Caspar Academy, he likes science, gym, and recess.

The oldest, 11-year-old Kenzie, also attends Fort Caspar Academy. There she likes P.E. and, depending on the topic, science. Outside of school, Kenzie likes playing Neopets on her computer, likes to instant-message with her friends, and loves taking hip-hop dance lessons at Dance Evolutions in the Sunrise Shopping Center. She also enjoys traveling with her family and is especially fond of visiting her great grandpa in the Bahamas. She also loves dogs and hopes to be a vet some day.

So where do these amazingly smart and well-traveled kids come from? Meet Dad and Mom, Casper physicians Cory and Renee Stirling.

Cory and Renee met as undergraduates at the University of Kansas in the early 1990's. Each had been accepted to different medical schools, he in Kansas City and she in Cleveland. This made their courtship a little complex and more than a little expensive. But "We knew God's plan was in it," they tell me and they persevered. They married in their last year of medical school and, a few months later, started their residencies in Cleveland. By the end of their first year of residency, they were within a few weeks of delivering their first baby.

Cory tells me, "Watching her running to codes was... She'd be running down the hall, holding her stomach in one hand and carrying the things for the code in the other."

Renee adds, "And that's when residents are putting in 80 to 115 hours a week."

Working these hours and being nine months' pregnant, too?! Wow!

Though they still had two more years to go in their residency programs, "We knew we didn't want to put our kids in daycare." So they arranged and were accepted for a first-ever residency-sharing program. One would stay home with the baby for a couple of months while the other worked on their residency and then they'd switch roles. This arrangement added a little time to the length of their residencies but it gave them precious bonding time with their sweet baby girl. It also provided them the flexibility they needed to welcome their second child into the world.

Ten years ago, the Stirlings started their practice in Internal Medicine in Casper. To this day, and one more child later, they still follow a taking-turns arrangement. Cory goes to the office on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and Renee goes in on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"When we're getting ready in the mornings, the kids want to know if it's a Mommy day or a Daddy day," Renee tells me.

For their alone-time, Cory and Renee love to travel abroad. Among other destinations, they've visited South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, London, Paris, and Wales. At home in Casper, they enjoy water skiing, snowboarding, and biking along the river with their children and two large dogs. Soon, the entire family will start Karate lessons. They enjoy being around family and worshiping at Highland Park Church.

Cory says, "We like the people here."

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