Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tushars 93K: A Race with a View (and tall mountains, super steep climbs, much suffering, etc.)

The idea of participating in the Tushars 93K was placed in my head by friend and stellar runner Megan Hansen. At that point, I thought it sounded crazy. I love a day out on the trails bagging as many peaks as I can, but the idea of 17,000 ft. (!) of vertical gain seemed a little out of reach. Throw in the fact that the race climbs to over 12,000 ft. and has an average elevation of over 10,000 ft., my only thought was "how am I supposed to breathe up there?"

I accepted her invitation, not really having any idea what I was getting myself into, and continued my training. My home is on the East bench of Ogden, UT, and I have hundreds of miles of sweet singletrack right outside my front door. I was slightly concerned about the elevation difference (the peaks around my neck of the woods don't break 10,000 ft.), but I was banking on adrenaline and the downhills to supplement my lack of oxygen on the climbs. After what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was almost time for the race. My longest day up to that point had consisted of 34 miles and 8,000 ft. of climbing. Just the thought of doubling that vert and adding 25 more miles in the process made me a little sick to my stomach...

The Tushar mountain range is a hidden gem located just East of Beaver, UT, featuring stunning 12,000 foot peaks.
As we pulled in that Friday afternoon, I was taken back by the beauty and size of these mountains that I never knew existed. It was pretty amazing terrain and it did a good job of intimidating me just by looking at it from the car. We arrived to the start/finish point of the race at the Skyline Lodge at Eagle Point Ski Resort. Runner check-in was a breeze, dinner was served, and it was time to hop in the back of the 4Runner for what would be a sleepless night. In all honesty, as I lay there in the back of my car with no hope of getting any sleep, I wasn't optimistic about the race that was about to start. I just wanted it to be over.

Race time.

I tried my best to stick to my normal pre race routine with a peanut butter sandwich and a banana before the 5:00am start. As we stepped up to the line, the race organizers once again reminded us of the difficulty of this course. "Do not approach this course lightly" and "You should seriously consider dropping at these aid stations" were the encouraging statements I needed to hear to get me going (note the sarcastic tone of the text). 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. We were off in the black of morning, following the string of headlamps heading up the mountain.

The first few miles of the race were slow. We were bunched up on single track, few places to pass anyone, and I had no idea what my pace was supposed to be for that leg of the race. I was trying to determine early how my body was holding up. Everything felt good, until I stepped into a wet marsh. Dang it. Then the rain/hail started. Really? We hadn't even made it to the first aid station yet. The little storm was broken up by an amazing sunrise that I was thrilled to see. We reached the first aid station at about 7:00am and my optimism was slowly building. With the sun coming out and the first aid station behind me, it was time to climb the first real mountain of the day, Mt. Delano, which would be the high point of the race at over 12,100'.

The climb up Delano was beautiful. I had no idea we had this kind of landscape close by, right outside little old Beaver, UT. We passed old mining cabins that had me puzzled as to how they lived in such rugged terrain so long ago. I wasn't exactly sure what we were climbing to, because the peak was engulfed in the clouds. "One step at a time," a phrase I would repeat often during the day.

Looking at the climb to Mt. Delano. I had no idea how far up we would go because the peak was blocked by the clouds.
A steep section of the climb on the way to the ridgeline that we would eventually follow up to the summit.

I was glad to still have enough sense this early in the race to turn around and appreciate the views before we climbed into the clouds. 
The summit came out of nowhere in the thick clouds, and I was stoked to see that little sign (also glad that I was still breathing ok after climbing to over 12,100'. At the summit, the wind was howling and I didn't have much feeling left in my hands. All I could think about was getting to some lower elevation to warm up.

Top of Delano, 12,169 ft., at mile 12.5 of the race.

As we ran down the other side of Delano, the 1/2 marathoners were making their way up to the summit. It was fun being on that mountain with so many other people. Everyone's stoke was still very high at this point and everyone cheered each other up, and down, that hill.

After descending Delano, we climbed a dirt road up to the second aid station at mile 16. Here I was happy to see Alexa and to notice that I was more ahead of the cutoff time than I had anticipated. I didn't hesitate in taking some sips of a Canada Dry, grabbing some Oreos, and refilling my water pack. After waiting for a few minutes to see the crew I had started with, I knew I had to keep moving. The next 6 miles were going to be a fun, quick descent down to Blue Lake before climbing back up to a mountain pass to mile 24's aid station.

Ali grabbed this super flattering shot as I grabbed a quick drink and a snack.
Miles 16 to 22 were probably my favorite of the entire day. It was downhill on amazing single track through forests and above cliffs, eventually making its way to a very cool Blue Lake. The title picture at the top of this post is one I snapped during this descent, I enjoyed views like that for the duration of the race. This was also my fastest leg of the race. I knew that I would have to take advantage of the downhill portions of the course if I had any hope to finish before the cutoff. Gravity was definitely going to be hurting on the (seemingly) endless climbs, so I made sure to let it pull me down those hills as much as my legs would allow. After reaching the valley floor and the lake, we started another 2,000 ft. climb up to Bullion Aid Station, located at mile 23.5. This climb felt long, but I credit my good time going up to Katy Perry and gummy bears, both of which played an integral role in carrying me up to the pass.

Enjoying the views of Blue Lake on the climb up to Bullion Aid Station

At Bullion Aid Station I opted for the Coca-Cola Classic and the grilled cheese. I was again stoked to see that I was moving over an hour ahead of the cutoff time for this stop. I wasn't sure how long my good spirits would last, so I decided to move pretty quickly through this station. I knew that Copper Belt Peak was waiting for us to summit and that it wouldn't be easy.

Ali again was dialed in her Aid Station photography, capturing another stunner of me at Bullion Aid Station.. (Mile 23.5)
After leaving Bullion for the first time, we would descend to the Copper Belt Peak aid station (3 miles later) before heading up to summit the mountain. It was a killer climb, but I would learn what a killer climb really looked like later in the race... After reaching the peak (mile 30) I grabbed a few pictures, did a quick evaluation as to how my body was holding up, threw down some gummy bears, and geared back up for what I hoped would be a quick descent of the mountain. On my first step off the peak, I felt a sudden pain shoot from the bottom of my knee all the way up to my hip. "Oh sh!#" were the first words out of my mouth (sorry mom). It was the IT band. Why is it always the IT band? I took a couple more steps to see if it was just a weird movement on my end, but the pain continued. My downhill running turned into a downhill stumble/shuffle mixture and my optimism was tanking. I thought for a few minutes that Tushars had won and I would be done. My strategy of moving quickly downhill was now a bust. I was relieved when I started the climb back to Bullion Aid Station for the second time and felt little to no knee pain while climbing, only on descents. I climbed quickly back to the pass and looked forward to a arriving at the aid station to reassess my situation. Do I keep going? Do I quit?

The views from Copper Belt Peak - Seriously, the views in this race are awesome.

Back at Bullion Aid Station (mile 36) throwin' down some ibuprofen and wishing my knee brace would be of any help.
When I got back to the Bullion Aid Station at mile 36, I saw that I was still over an hour ahead of the cutoff. I thought to myself - I'll take 5 minutes and see how I'm feeling, because if I leave this aid station, I have to finish. The race organizers warned us prior to the race that if we were going to drop, this was the place to drop. Extracting someone beyond this point would be difficult and you'd probably be better off walking to the end regardless. Encouraging, right? I was thinking out loud to Alexa about what I should do and I think my rambling went something like this. "Well, I know the next 6 miles are all downhill, and that is going to hurt. Then I'll have to do the hardest climb of the race - 4,000 ft. from mile 43-47 - and that is going to suck, too. I can't remember what the last 10 miles after that will be like, but I can't imagine they'll be much fun at that point. But I've given myself a good amount of time, so I think I'll do it. I'm going to finish."

I was eager to see how my knee would hold up for the next 6 miles as we would descend nearly 4,000 feet to the low point of the race (just over 7,500'). I told Ali I would see her at the finish, whenever that might be, and went on my way.

Leaving Bullion Aid Station for the last time and beginning my 6-7 mile descent toward Miner's Park Aid Station.
The descent was brutal, but I managed to keep my pace up while trying anything to minimize the pain. I would occasionally stop to snap a pic or focus on the scenery rather than running. We ran down open meadows, through lush forests, and past the incredible Bullion Falls en route to Miner's Park Aid Station at mile 43.

Bullion Falls, somewhere around mile 41.

Descending through meadows to Miner's Park Aid Station
I spent little time at Miner's Park aid station because I knew what was ahead and I just wanted to get it over with. The next 4 miles would be long and time consuming. We would climb 4,000 feet to mile 48, and it was by far the most difficult portion of the race. I found myself stopping often to eat anything I could grab out of my pack. I needed something, anything, to give me more energy.

The night before the race, while we were eating dinner, I was asked, "What is the most physical suffering you've experienced?" I wasn't sure at the time, but I now have a very clear answer. We followed switchbacks up for a few miles and a few thousand feet. I thought we were near the top when we got above the treeline. When the trees cleared and I saw the route on which we would continue to the summit, I was crushed. We would abandon the trail and climb straight up the face of this mountain to the top, another 1,500' above us. I was exhausted. Just looking up made me want to cry. I figured that crying wouldn't do me much good at this point and my only option was to go forward. It was very slow, but I continued to put one foot in front of the other, basically pulling myself up the mountain with my trekking poles, until finally I reached the top right as the sun was setting. The views from the peak were, again, spectacular, but it was much more difficult to appreciate what I was seeing at this point.  

You could see the final aid station below the peak, though the route down was a deceptively long route (another 2 miles) until I finally arrived. This last aid station was also our first aid station earlier in the day. From here, we would follow the same 8 mile trail back to the start/finish line and call it a day.

Shortly after leaving the final aid station, we were engulfed in the dark woods. Apparently at some point during the day, a group of hunters out spotting for elk had removed the course marking ribbons on this stretch of the course, believing that the ribbons were "scaring the game away". I was soon lost in the woods, desperately looking for anything that resembled a trail. I was very much ready to be done with this race, and the idea of spending the night lost in the woods was unacceptable. After 30ish minutes of simple wandering, I saw a headlamp coming down the mountain side. Turned out to be the race organizer, Matt, and he was replacing the ribbons for the rest of the runners. I was super relieved to know I was back on course and heading the right direction to the finish.

After making my way over a couple more passes, I knew I had to be getting close. After a few more miles, I saw another headlamp running up the trail in my direction. It turned out to be Jeff Davis, one of the people who I had started the race with but called it a day after Copper Belt Peak, and he had come to see me through to the finish. Another few minutes of shuffling down the trail and there it was, I small arch, covered in Christmas lights, coming out of nowhere in the dark night. 

The finish.

This race was the real deal. The course was absolutely stunning, but killer. 17,000 ft of climbing in 60 miles was no joke! This race has a reputation of being difficult, and I can clearly see why. This race, however, is a great chance to explore a part of the state that not many people visit. The Tushar mountains are pretty special, and I hope they continue to put on this race for years to come. I may even have to come play again!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Climbing Some Mountains

Last weekend we came up with a great idea, we were going to do some peak-bagging. We were going to hike and climb mountains and make it to several peaks in one day. We were super excited, hopeful, and ready to start moving upwards.

Our plan was to start by hiking the American Fork Twin Peaks followed by a later summit of Mount Timpanogos. This would add up to roughly 8500 feet of elevation gain over the span of 26 ish miles. We knew it was going to make for a long day, but we were excited for the challenge.

I recently gave a description of our adventure to the American Fork Twin Peaks on The Outbound Collective here. It is meant as somewhat of a guide if any of you guys decided to take the same route up as we did.

"The trail begins at Silver Lake Flat Reservoir. Ditch your car and follow the road on foot past the north side of the lake, cross the stream, and continue up the road for approximately 0.7 miles. The road begins climbing the ridge and becomes inaccessible for cars. Enjoy your hike through the forests of pine, aspens, and abundant wildlife. Continue for another 3 miles until you reach a gate blocking the wider road as it opens up to a large basin. At the gate, take the trail to the left of the "road". This trail marks the beginning of the true climb in this hike.

You will gain elevation quickly as you follow the trail along the ridgeline toward the peaks high above. Take your time as you climb to above 11,000 ft. and approach the peaks. Once you've made the summit, you'll find several other peaks within reach. Enjoy some peak bagging while managing small saddles dipping approximately 150 feet between summits. Once you're peak'd out, follow the steep trail back towards the gate and follow the road back down to the parking area.

You will be rewarded for your climb on this mountain. For the adventurous, this provides a much better option than the tram ride to the top of Snowbird Resort or a walk up the slopes. Enjoy the working the back way up the mountain for some of the best views in the state! This hike is approximately 12 miles roundtrip, depending on how many peaks you bag."

Our timing was perfect. The colors in the mountains were vibrant and kept us inspired on our climbs.

Taking a breather on our way down from the AF Twins

The views from the summit were great, as expected.

 Getting both of the twins took longer of expected, and was delayed by injury on the way down.

Mount Timpanogos in the background from the top of American Fork Twin 1.

The AF Twins took longer than expected, and we didn't get back to the car (basecamp) until 5:00. We were determined, though, and started our way up Timp at about 6:00. It was dark, cold, windy, and we could only see what our headlamps illuminated. We were tired and delirious, and hilarity ensued. We slept well that night.

After a day of relaxation, we were ready for our next adventure..

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dude, Where's My Car? Needin' Some California Dreamin'.

We had just taken a great weekend trip up to our home away from home at Bear Lake. It included the usual: wakesurfing, hot tubbing, shakes, etc. I am super fortunate to have a place to escape to up there and never take it for granted.

It was a great weekend with great weather. I have been working in South Jordan temporarily for the last couple of months, and sent Ali up with her family and said I would meet them up there. She met her Dad at a hotel that he runs in Layton and they took off from there. We came back early Sunday morning and went to pick up the car from the hotel later that day. The conversation went something like this.

"Ok, where did you park?"

"See that spot with that Honda Civic?"


"That's where I left the car."

"I see.."

"It's gone, they must have towed it."

After speaking with the hotel....

"They've never authorized a tow in their parking lot."

"Well, we better make a few phone calls."

Never in my life have I ever even thought about the possibility of my car being stolen. I don't think I even know anyone who has had a car stolen. It was a crazy experience. In a way, it made me feel very violated. They got in my car which had a lot of personal possessions in it (equating to about $4,500 worth of things actually) and just took off. A pathetic thieving coward took my car. It's now been two weeks, no sign of the car or anything in it. I had golf clubs in there, a GoPro, souvenirs, I was crushed. The insurance has been, as expected, incredibly slow. I still don't have a check for the belongings in the car, or replacement funds for the car, or a rental car for that matter. It has been quite the terrible process. I continue my attempt in moving the process forward with little success.

After the car theft incident, we were lucky enough to make it to Southern California for the holiday weekend. While there, we did typical Southern California things....


Eating at The Crab Cooker

Beach Laying & Walking

Catching an Angel's Game

Beachside Biking


It was a much needed getaway after the car theft incident. We left our worries behind and enjoyed a beautiful weekend in a place we love. I wish I could write more, but I've gotta go call the insurance company....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Uinta's and Strawberry's

More Weekends = More Adventures

Uinta Dreaming

Two weeks ago we took a trip up to the Uinta Mountains to climb, hike, fish, and spend time with friends. It ended up being a much smaller group than we had anticipated, and were wondering if anyone at all would be joining us when we left home on that Friday night. There ended up being seven of us there on Friday night, and just two of us staying Saturday night. Our small group turned out to be a good size for our climbing and fishing plans for the weekend.

Our basecamp for the weekend was a family A-Frame cabin complete with outhouse and no running water.

We stayed in a little A-Frame type cabin in the Manor Lands community just outside the National Forest area. At night we spent time talking, playing card games (UNO!!! was probably heard by residents way over in Kamas), and planning the crags/climbs we wanted to visit the next day.

We spent Saturday morning climbing the walls near Ruth Lake, along with A LOT of other weekend Uinta visitors. We made our way to Warrior Wall (because it was the least occupied wall at the crag) and found climbs ranging from 5.10c to 5.12b. Stoke was high and it was great to watch friends work and send some routes on this wall.

The views don't suck from this crag. Climbing above Ruth Lake in the Uinta Mountains.

After a few hours of climbing and lunch, we made our way to some Uinta lakes to fish the high mountain trout. Hopefully, we'd be successful enough to add fish to the dinner menu. It was a beautiful afternoon and, after trial and error, dialed in on the lures that were getting the bites. We had a successful evening of fishing and ended with 2 of the fish being large enough to add to our meal back at basecamp.

The high mountain fish, small as they are here, are often some of the best looking fish I find.
A good end to a good day with good people.

That night, the remaining members of our party headed back to civilization while we decided to spend another night in the mountains. The next day, before returning home, we stopped by some rivers and lakes to pull out the fly-rod in more remote areas.

We then made our way home, preparing for another week of work and busy schedules, while remembering the things that were said and experiences shared on another great weekend in the Uinta's.


The alarm sounded in our pitch black bedroom. I looked at the clock and saw the time 3:30 AM begin to illuminate the screen. A couple months, on Father's Day, we gave my Dad the gift of a fishing day at Strawberry Reservoir, located in the Uinta National Forest in the Wasatch Mountain Range. In order to get there before the sun rose, we had to leave our home in Kaysville at 4:00 AM. We rolled out of bed, made the 2 hour drive, and entered the lake on our rental boat. We were rewarded with stunning views as the sun rose on the smokey horizon as we left the marina.

The view of the sun rising as we departed Strawberry Bay Marina.
After a slow morning of testing our lures, flies, wooly buggers, flatfish, etc., we finally found the fish and how to bring them in. Once a fish was on, we loved waiting to see what kind of fish and how big it would be. We caught several rainbow and cutthroat trout ranging from 14 to 20 inches and as big as a couple pounds.

That night, after returning to Kaysville, we were exhausted. Not much more was done besides showering, putting on a movie, and heading to bed. It was a fun day for us, and hopefully a fun day for our Dad.

Now I'm looking to the future to see what the coming weekends are bringing. Bear Lake and California are coming up next, and they will be welcomed greatly after long weeks of work and constant business!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Finding Balance

I hear it all the time... Something like "How do you guys vacation all the time?" or "Do you guys even work?" Other days it's along the lines of "They've been given everything, they don't understand 'work' or the value of it." My personal favorite? "Spoiled Sh!#$ and ungrateful." 

The other week I was in Zion National Park. I picked up some hitchhikers who were climbers (being a climber myself, I was happy to give them a lift when I saw their ropes and gear.) One of the two guys came from Sweden. He had been self-employed for many years and quit to travel and climb. He had been summiting mountains for years (including Everest) and told me how people thought he was crazy and that his life was a joke. It made me think about the questions I mentioned above, whether they've been said to me directly or spoken between friends or family members.

Do these things bother me? In short, no. Sometimes it's flattering that people think I live such a glamorous life. I am facing the same challenges that others in almost all phases of their career are dealing with. I'm trying to find balance in my life. I have to work to live, to support my family, and to pay the necessary expenses that comes with living here. I'll do my best, for my own sake, to answer these questions/statements that friends/family/acquaintances have said to us personally or said to others about us while we aren't around.

"Do you guys even work?"
As hard as it may be to believe, we do in fact have full-time jobs. I work about 50 hours on any given week, not including the phone calls I receive from people about my company that are happening at 6:00 in the morning and 10:30 at night. Alexa puts in her weekly 40-50 hours working as one of two chemists in a water conservancy district that covers 4 counties and deals with 94 million gallons of water per day. We worked very hard to get these jobs and continue to work hard to advance in our careers.

"They can do all these things because they are given everything."
Wouldn't that be great! I can say one thing, if I was given everything that I needed to live a comfortable life, we would definitely spend a lot more time on the road than in the office. Did we grow up in homes where our parents had done well for themselves? We did. I can definitely say that our families have been very blessed. My parents had the means to take my siblings and me on great vacations, to have a beautiful cabin where our family can gather, and to enjoy activities like boating on a lake or visiting a beach. My parents worked unbelievably hard to give us kids those kind of opportunities. I remember not seeing my Mom for days at a time during tax season, and my Dad having to determine what we would be able to do with the leave that he had. Seeing my parents work so hard to provide a comfortable lifestyle for me was inspiring and motivating. 

I, like most kids, had to earn money for the things I wanted to buy, and was repeatedly told "No" when I laid my eyes on the items that I thought I literally could not live without. I worked through college and, mostly thanks to Alexa's scholarship and science fair money, we were able to graduate without any large debts. It was our hard work during our college and immediate post-college jobs that eventually landed us the jobs that we have today. I can't say that our parents didn't help us through college. The fact is, they did help! They always told us, "we won't let you go hungry", and they never did. Despite what many people think, I saw first hand and learned the value of hard work from a young age as I learned my parents to the times in college where I knew if I performed well enough in those jobs, I would be rewarded in my job search after graduation.

"It looks like you guys are always on vacation!"

We try really hard to make our lives as "vacation-like" as we can! It isn't easy, but it has been worth it for us so far. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we work to make new memories and friends all the time!

This is how we try to keep an active lifestyle despite our time committed to the office. Obviously everyone does things different and does what makes them happy. I'm not trying to "coach" people in similar situations to do the things I do because, frankly, not even close to everyone wants to do the things that we enjoy doing! Some people would rather sit on the couch over a weekend than do a spontaneous road trip to a place they've never been, and I can't say which one is better or worse or wrong and right. This fits our current situation (no kids, no more school, just us and our two careers) and works for us for now.
1 - Wake up early! This is a great time to get things done and out of the way. Wake up, exercise (important), organize your things, send letters (do people still do that anymore?), etc. Getting your workout done in the morning saves you at least another hour after work that can now be used for something other than your workout. 

2 - Work hard while at work! Don't just get your obligatory duties done with mediocrity, be efficient and do them well! Being efficient with your time at work will help you do a better job in a shorter amount of time, causing less amounts of stress. 

3 - Decompress on your drive home. Try to decompress while on your way home from work by listening to audiobooks, good music, driving in silence to comb over anything that bugged you throughout the day, whatever works for you. Do this so that when you get home you don't have to fall onto the couch and say "Oh man, I just need a minute to sit and do nothing." This one is hard for me. It isn't easy for me to get home and say "Ok, what do we have planned?" or "Hey, let's head up to the lake for some paddle boarding!" It's always easier to stay on the couch and turn on the tv, but I've never regretted getting out and doing new things. 

4 - Leave your work at work. Some of us have to answer phone calls that come at any hour of the day (myself included), but that doesn't mean we have to bring work with us everywhere we go. In your after work gatherings, rarely do people want to hear all about how Sally jammed the copy machine again even after you've explained the correct paper-loading process a million times. Use your time after work to be in moment whether with friends or family.

5 - Have hobbies, interests, and friends outside of work. 

6 - Weekends (when you don't work) are GOLD. Never waste a weekend. That is a motto that Ali and I try to live by. Don't let a weekend slip away by sitting around on the couch or sleeping it away. Sometimes it's a lot of work to take off on a weekend, or maybe the drive is "too far away" for anything you'd like to do. Sometimes the hardest part is getting out the door. Once you do, just enjoy the experience!

So here is the deal.... We work pretty damn hard. We have to work for the things we want, whether it be material, spiritual, or mental. I am incredibly grateful for my parents, their work ethic, and the sacrifices they have made for me. We understand work. Finally.... I hope to be able to make my life feel as much like an adventure and a journey as I have so far! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Opening Day, Thanksgiving, Oh Christmas Tree

Check out the video of our weekend HERE!!!

What a crazy Thanksgiving break!  To celebrate some time off of school, we were able to be at Snowbasin Resort for opening day on Nov. 26.  It was super crowded and very crazy, but we had a fun day nonetheless.  It was an abnormally warm day, so the conditions weren't spectacular and only a few runs were open.  We were able to rid ourselves from the rust of the off-season and get back into riding form.

Thanksgiving was great.  I spent Thanksgiving with the in-laws this year and it started with a morning basketball game with Uncle Randy and his family.  We dove into our Thanksgiving feast at a church in Riverdale with extended family.  Dinner was followed by a talent show where we performed quite the rendition of "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" with Alexa on the piano, my father-in-law on the accordion, and me bringing it home on the ukulele.

After the party, we stretched and prepared ourselves emotionally and physically for the events that were about to unfold.  That is... Black Friday.  We got to Walmart at 6:00 pm, when the deals kicked off.  As one might expect, it was a claustrophobic experience that left me with a massive headache.  After more shopping that night and on Friday, we had pretty much completed our Christmas shopping for the year.

Like many others, we pulled out the Christmas decorations to ring in another December.  After all the shopping and buying and deals and ads slapping me in the face, I had to take a deep breath to think about and appreciate the approaching Christmas season.  Remembering Christ's birth and the life that he led will continue to inspire me as I try to follow his example throughout my life.  I'll save the rest of my Spirit of Christmas speech for another post, prepare yourself.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wax On, Wax Off, Catch Shrimp

This weekend we headed south to spend some time with family.  It is always nice to get away and spend time with loved ones (and enjoy the free food that comes along with it.)  We made the most of our time by eating a delicious dinner at Tepanyaki's, watching football, and getting everybody's skis and snowboards waxed and ready to go for the season.

Our cause for celebration on Friday was Parker's 22nd birthday.  He brought his gift receiving enthusiasm, as expected, and we were reminded of childhood birthdays again.  I was able to capture one of the highlights of our dinner, the infamous shrimp toss.  Everyone did pretty well this time around, many of us showing improvement.  Parker caught four shrimp in a row, while others needed a little extra help from our chef.  I was able to catch the highlights of our shrimp toss showdown on my iPhone and inserted them into my weekly edit.  The edit also includes a time lapse of our ski waxing party, as well as my Sunday treat.

Click HERE to watch the video!

We are super excited for Thanksgiving this week!  We only have 2 days of school and work and then its off to the feasts with family and friends.  It will probably get a little hectic as we try to see everyone, hit the slopes, attend a wedding, and Ali may even drag me along to do some Black-Friday shopping.  Whatever happens, we will enjoy spending time with people we care about and we will be sure to count our blessings.