Deer Valley Date 2019

Ancestry allows employees to check-out a pair of Ski Utah Gold passes once a year for some skiing. These are awesome passes which are pretty much good at any ski resort in the state. We missed last year, due to some unfortunate timing on my part, but got the opportunity to return to Deer Valley for the first time in a while.

It was a perfect day up on the mountain. There was not a cloud in the sky, and there was no wind. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some fresh snow — we’ve got a bunch of snow, but no storms for about a week.

Manina and I went all over the mountain. We found a really cool app that let us track all of our statistics on our Apple Watches, which led to some serious (for one of us, anyway) competition.

After a few runs, we stopped in for some lunch out on the sunny deck at the Empire Canyon Lodge. You can’t go to Deer Valley without enjoying some of their world-famous turkey chili.

Then we got back to skiing. Manina and I got separated when she made a wrong turn, but for the most part we stayed together the whole time. We braved mostly green runs, but I did a couple blues that Manina routed around, even though she easily could have managed them. She just needed a little time to warm up.

Toward the end of the day, Manina kept asking me what my stats were for my top speed for the day. She was trying to play it cool, but I noticed her trying to slow up, lag behind for a bit, then rip down a steep spot to catch up every once in a while. She’d zoom ahead, and then stop and say she wanted to take some pictures of me, but her strategy was revealed at the end of the day.

On our way down the Jordanelle Gondola back to where we had parked our car, she shared her stats with our whole family on our group iMessage — she claimed victory in the top speed competition, topping out
33.6MPH vs. my wimpy 31.9MPH.

I guess there’s always next year.

More missionaries in our family

And just like that, we add two more missionaries to our family. This has been a long journey for them but it has finally come to fruition. We are so excited to watch Elder and Sister Johnson head off on a military relations mission in San Diego, California. They will be amazing!

via Instagram

Pine Hollow 2019

We’ve done a winter Pine Hollow hike for several years, and even though it was a super cold New Year’s Day (5° F!) we decided to go for it.

We bundled up and hit the trail after lunch and made really good time heading up the hill. We completed the 1.4 miles to the meadow in just less than an hour.

Once up there we stopped for a rest for a few minutes and took a few pictures. Then it was time for the fun part — the sledding ride back down.

We almost made it down without incident.

We made a couple errors. First, the conditions were fast. Because it was so cold the trail was pretty much a sheet of ice. And, because there wasn’t a ton of snow, there weren’t great berms and sidewalls to keep us on the trail. The final error was Megan deciding to do down headfirst on one of the longest and steepest sections of the trail. One rule for the future is always go feet-first so you have a good way to slow down and stop.

Megan went off the trail and right into a large tree that had been cut down. There wasn’t anything else to soften the landing or slow her down so there was quite an impact. She hit her face pretty hard, but the worst of the impact was taken on her lower back. Thankfully, she was able to get up after a few minutes and walk the last half mile back to the car.

Sharing Christmas 2018

This has quickly become one of our favorite traditions. You can read reports of what we did in previous years. (2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014)

Here is the accounting for what we did with our favorite gift of the year.

Feeding the homeless ($60)

Most of our money this year went to feeding the homeless. Together with some neighbors, we coordinated a night of service to drive up to downtown SLC and feed the homeless.

We used $60 to buy bread from Kneaders to give away to some folks who really needed it. Some of our neighbors brought hot chocolate and other baked goods and treats. We all set up a table up near The Road Home shelter, spread out our goods, and started giving them away to the people to came by. Word spread very quickly and we had hundreds of folks come enjoy a delicious treat.

It was a fun experience and one that the kids won’t soon forget. We met some interesting characters, but most were very kind and grateful for the warm treat on a cold night.

Refugee Presents ($20)

Manina’s work had a Christmas party where the main activity was to purchase presents for a refugee family from Iran. We were given a budget and some items to shop for for each of their six kids:

  • Mahmood (16-year-old boy)
  • Nuseebu (14-year-old girl)
  • Aysha (12-year-old girl)
  • Saiza (9-year-old girl)
  • Amena (7-year-old girl)
  • Rahima (18-month-old girl)
Helping deliver presents to a refugee family from Iran

Of course, we went a little over the budgeted amount, so we used $20 of our money to cover the difference. We were also able to personally deliver the presents and it was nice to meet the kids and see these gifts go directly to someone in need.

Clash for Christmas Cash ($20)

Mountain Ride Junior High competes with Timberline each year to see who can raise the most money for some local families who need some extra help with Christmas.

Both Katelyn and Claire donated $10 to a very good cause. The school newsletter showed just how successful this was.

For our Christmas fundraiser this year we nearly doubled our regular amount of cash donations, combining with Timberline to raise nearly $13,000. This money was used to help provide Christmas gifts to about 70 families in Utah County, with several here in our own school boundaries. A special thank you to our generous community, and the MRJH Student Council for coordinating the fundraiser.

MRJH Newsletter – December 19, 2018

Since Katelyn is in Student Council, she got to go and spend some of that Christmas cash with some of her classmates.

Katelyn and her buddy Sophie out shopping

It was nice to be so directly involved with our sharing Christmas monies this year. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Manina’s Birthday 2018

Manina has gotten pretty good at telling us exactly what she wants to do for her birthday.

The day started off with a quick gym workout and then a brunch with the Denney’s who just arrived in town from San Diego. Then Megan, Katelyn, Manina and I all went up to the Fashion Place mall to do some shopping for a few specific items that Manina had been looking for.

In the evening, we all went to dinner at Pizza Studio and enjoyed eating together and talking about some fun memories.

Then it was time for some bowling. Drew and Ellie were the only ones who requested bumper lanes, and everyone was having fun and having a good attitude. We almost escaped the bowling alley without incident, but then we decided to pose for a family photograph. Megan adamently refused (probably because there were teenage boys in the near vicinity), so I took the liberty to photoshop her in.

Click for the original

We came home and had a cake and some ice cream and opened Manina’s presents. Most of these weren’t a surprise, since Manina had picked them all out herself in our earlier shopping trip.

Overall, it was a pretty good day and a fun way to celebrate Manina’s birthday.