Manina’s 40th Birthday

Manina is 40! She requested to keep things small this year, not wanting to inconvenience anyone during the busy holiday season. But even with her request, she managed to have a pretty jam-packed day of celebration.

First thing was a breakfast and an all-expenses-paid shopping trip with a couple close friends. Emily, Penny and Manina enjoyed breakfast at the Black Bear Diner and then shopped at Downeast and then went on to Manina’s favorite store, the Loft. She found lots of cute outfits, and bought all of them.

After the shopping spree, Manina came home for Ellie’s gingerbread program (our last one) and a quick lunch and then it was off to Megan’s basketball game.

Right after Megan’s game, we drove to PF Changs for dinner. We enjoyed a semi-formal dinner with the kids (that usually doesn’t happen – we were happy they were well-behaved this time).

After dinner we all drove down to the Marriott Center for a BYU basketball game. Nick Emery, TJ Haws, Erik Mika and company all put on a pretty good show against Cal State – Bakersfield. The Roadrunners got within 10 towards the end, making the game a little nerve-wracking, but the Cougs held them off.

On the way home our neighbors even lit up their house with pink and yellow lights (because Manina had teasingly mentioned it a few days earlier).

While it was a great day, the highlight was all of the nice comments and notes and gifts that many people sent. Manina certainly has a way with people and has many friends who helped make her day very special. Happy birthday, Manina!

Timpanogos Summit Hike

Manina has wanted to climb Mount Timpanogos for quite some time. I have been up there several times with my scout troops, but never just with her. So, we decided to make a date out of it. I took the day off on Friday to hike it with her.

We sent all the kids off to school and headed up the canyon to the Timpooneke trailhead. We weren’t any particular hurry, since we had all day. It’s a 15-mile round-trip hike with quite a lot of elevation gain (4500 ft) so bagging Timp is an all day affair. The conditions were perfect, with temperatures in the 60s and a light breeze — it was a great day for a hike.


We started out at 10am, a little later than we had planned. We stopped for a quick PB&J lunch, but mostly kept moving all the way up. Unencumbered by kids (or scouts), we made good time and got to the Timpanogos saddle by 1:30pm.

We paused for a bit at the saddle to take some pictures. We had some lingering clouds out to the west over Utah county, but the view to the east was clear and spectacular. We even found a couple mountain goats right by the saddle hanging out and enjoying their lunch too.


The section from the saddle to the summit was pretty slow going. Lots of shale and some semi-technical sections. But we made it to the top. The clouds had lifted somewhat, so we took some pictures and hung out for a little while up at 11,753 feet.


We didn’t rush things on the way down, just enjoyed the time walking and chatting and enjoying the views.


We stopped for a while in the big meadow and enjoyed a late lunch of crackers, cheese, turkey and fancy mustard — fancy foodstuffs for a hike. We didn’t see a lot of people on the trail until we got within a mile or two of the trailhead when we encountered a couple scout groups heading up for an overnighter. Timpooneke is usually pretty well-traveled, so it was nice to do it during the week to avoid the crowds. When we finally made it back to the parking lot I was pretty exhausted and ready to get off my feet.


As we packed up, I reassessed my gear like I usually do. My main lesson learned was that I had carried too much water (I only drank 2 liters). Our GPS data showed we hiked 14.8 miles about 7.5 hours total. Not bad for a couple old fogies on a weekday hike to the Timpanogos summit.

Young Women’s 5K Chalk Run

This is our second annual Young Women’s color run. They have chalk stations all along the way, each color representing the values in the young woman program in our church. As you get to the station they throw chalk.

None of my girls trained for the 5K so there was a lot of walking and running involved but we all had a great time running up to the temple (a good ending even it was uphill!).





American Fork Canyon 1/2 Marathon

This was my third time running the American Fork Canyon Half Marathon. It is such a beautiful, well-organized race with a great cause (fight cancer). I rarely turn down the chance to sign up each year.

This year I had been working with a friend to get in better shape by lifting weights and eating more regular meals. In turn, this helped increase my speed. I ended up beating my last time by nearly four minutes, and my first time by about 11 minutes. I ended up finishing at 1:42 (average 7:48/miles).

I will admit that I wasn’t feeling super great the morning of the race. I had a good run down the canyon, but my foot was hurting due to a large blister forming on my bunion. By the end I was ready to be done. I am hoping if I can get a better pair of socks for my blisters (which I usually do before a race) that I can beat that time by another minute or two. We’ll see next year!







San Diego Birthday Trip

For my birthday, my sweet husband bought me a ticket to go visit one of my besties, Kristy, in San Diego. When they moved from Utah a while back we promised to visit each other often, but that proves to be difficult at times with the craziness of both of our lives. Thankfully Seth bought the ticket forcing me to make time and go.

I flew out on a Wednesday afternoon and returned back on Saturday afternoon. We spent a lot of time just visiting and catching up. My favorite part was our morning workouts. The first day she whooped my butt at the gym. Although I work out nearly daily, I obviously wasn’t doing the same things she does because by the end of the workout I was spent! It was fun though. I remember why I love having her as a workout partner. The next morning we dropped her kids off at a friend’s home and went to the beach by Carlsbad and ran along the coast. It was beautiful and so refreshing. Running by the coast isn’t something I get to do very often, if ever, so I cherished every minute of it. On my final day we ran a five-mile loop around a lake together. It was crazy to go from wearing my lined fleece pants here in Utah to wearing shorts and a tank in San Diego, but I loved it!


Other than working out we found time to get our toes and nails done, eat, visit, eat some more, watch chick flicks and we even did a little shopping. We even got a little naughty and snuck off to one of the best donut shops in her area – yum? Although the trip was short and sweet, I am grateful I was able to find time to sneak away and spend a few days with Kristy and her darling family.

Me, Kristy, & Brett at VG’s Donut Shop
Me and Kristy
Denny kiddos