Sharing, Caring, and Daring: The Underwook Family
03/01/2011 - By Gayle Irwin
| (click for larger version)|
Kristin and Carey Underwood recently celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary. Dedicated Christians, they met at church and knew each other nearly eight years before taking their vows. Their friendship matured like a strongly planted oak tree with interests in common such as faith, outdoors, family and travel.
"We knew each other a long time but didn't date for several years," Kristin said. "We were friends, then, after we began dating, we just knew; we were married in about eight months."
Getting to know one another as friends and then recognizing God's hand in their relationship showcases the Underwood's caring and daring natures. A daring spirit is part of who they are. Kristin's athleticism spills into her professional as well as her personal life; she is a runner and a physical education teacher. Carey's handiwork encapsulates digging in the dirt, redesigning walls in their home, and carefully crafting art from fragile eggs.
Carey and Kristin grew up in Casper. They consider this community home, with strong family, friendship and fellowship ties. Kristin works as the physical education teacher at Verda James Elementary; Emily (8) is in third grade and Timothy (10) attends fourth grade at the same school. Carey is part of the family business, Underwood Oil and Gas, primarily in charge of maintenance of commercial properties owned.
Carey and Kristin also have an older child whom they adopted several years ago. Deanna and her husband James also live in Casper.
Another family member is Bear, a two-year-old, 120-pound Newfoundland.
| (click for larger version)|
"We like big dogs," Carey said.
"We just didn't know how much he drooled!" chimed in Timothy.
Bear shares some of the family's outdoor adventures, such as camping at Alcova and in South Dakota. The Underwoods also ski and travel.
"Most of what we do is together," Kristin said.
They shared many of their interests last year with a stranger when they opened their home to a foreign exchange student from Australia. They took their young charge to Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain national parks; she also experienced snow and skiing for the first time.
Carey had previously traveled to Australia and New Zealand and was fascinated with the region; therefore, when opportunity arose to house a foreign exchange student from the area, the Underwoods decided to expand their cultural horizons. Everyone learned from one another, Kristin said.
"Although she spoke English, our words could be really different," she explained. "For example, she didn't know what 'garbage' was – they say 'rubbish'.
The Underwoods still keep in touch with their former houseguest.
Caring for others also manifests through their church life. The family attends College Heights Baptist Church; Carey was raised in that church.
"I was the first baby in the nursery," he said.
They have participated in mission trip opportunities and hope to do more. Two years ago they traveled to Chili; this year Kristin would like to travel to Africa to help at an orphanage.
Faith is a strong component of the Underwoods' lives, and College Heights is like a second family.
"I have lots of friends there," Timothy said.
"We love our pastor," Kristin added. "We enjoy his preaching. I also like how the church ministers to the people (of the church and the community)."
Like their active mother (Kristin was a nationally-ranked racquetball player and also played softball), Timothy and Emily participate in sports, including basketball; Emily also plays soccer. The children also enjoy art, particularly drawing, painting and sculpting. Emily said she likes creating at Pottery By You.
"I like painting stuff," she said.
"I like making art, not just looking at it," Timothy commented.
Their father, Carey, is creative as well. He carves designs in eggs, from chicken-sized to ostrich, has done woodworking, and is in charge of improvements to the home. A large project for 2011 is to complete the landscaping in their backyard, including setting out artificial turf and rebuilding the privacy fence.
Kristin's big project is completing her national boards for physical education.
"That's consuming most of my free time," she said.
Her other goal is to run a marathon. She has her eye upon an event this summer in Parker, Colorado.
"I've been wanting to do this for a long time," she said.
This summer, Timothy plans to play baseball and Emily will play soccer.
The entire family hopes to do more camping as well.
Sharing their time and their love within their immediate family, caring about helping others, and daring to push themselves through activities and personal goals helps to bind the Underwood family and to reach out to others in their community and around the world.