Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Albion Basin Camping

It's late July - must be time to head up to Albion Basin!

Yes, we know we post the same photos basically every year (proof: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) and, no, it never ever gets old. The mountains. The wildflowers and wildlife. The cool evening breezes at 9,000 feet. The feeling of snuggling in a down sleeping bag after drinks around the fire with our favorite people. Nope, it never gets old.

Eatin' more
Wildlife viewin'
WanYing was especially excited to spot these little guys, even if they are pesky varmints.

And, yes, the boys really were all there there. I guess they just aren't as much fun to photograph (or aren't such willing subjects) as the girls.

Our Albion adventure was marred by only one mishap, discovered after we returned home. My darling husband had closed all of the bedrooms ensure the cat didn't carry any dead/semi dead/not dead at all wildlife into our bedrooms while we were away.

Well, despite "checking" for the cat (I'm convinced this exclusively included calling for the cat, who, you'll be surprised to know, does not come when called. Because no cat comes when called.) we opened our bedroom door to a war zone upon returning home. Our wily cat climbed the curtains, punched/clawed through the screen in our bedroom window, and jumped 1 1/2 stories to freedom from his bedroom incarceration. Needless to say, all of our bedding required laundering.

And, of course, my love maintains this is all the cat's fault. That darn cat.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Our 17th Anniversary - This Ride's for Us

The celebration just won't stop! We chased our amazing anniversary weekend in Sundance ("Anniversary Observed") with the GLMR Ride on Saturday ("Anniversary Official") - 100 miles through Utah County to raise awareness and funds for mental illness.

As a part of team Cycle 4 Cure, Steve and I get so many chances raise money and awareness for tough diseases. Even better than that, we get to ride for people we love, encouraging them and dedicating rides and prayers to their health and wholeness.

Halfway through Saturday's GLMR ride, my teammate Zach leaned over and asked, "So, who are you riding for today?" And the answer was easy, "This one's for us."

Mental illness affects 1 in 4 Americans, many of whom fight in silence because of the stigma of mental illness. Our family story has been  dramatically affected by mental illness - we know the pain and hard, hard work of regaining mental health. Some fight daily, some fight in spurts and cycles, and some, like us, are grateful to be in a time of stability and monitoring.

Saturday was a celebration of our physical, mental, emotional, and relational health (all three hard work to be sure!). It was a time to get out into Utah's amazing countryside and revel in time together on two wheels. It was a time of gratitude for our story so far and prayer for the chapters to come.

Saturday's ride was for us.

p.s. Saturday was also justification for Steve's first 4x4 at In and Out (yes, 4 patties on one bun). He's been planning that for a long time. Yes, it was as repulsive as it sounds. Yes, he relished every bite.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Epic 4th Weekend Part Three - Sundance Zip Rider

Our epic 4th of July weekend culminated with a ride on the new Sundance Zip Rider! 2 miles, 5 spans, and 3 whole hours of fun in the sun with good friends.

It was a heck of a time. And we had confirmed speeds of over 70 miles an hour. Awesome.
Thanks to a power outage, we got to take UTVs up the second half of our ascent. It was a bumpy good time!
Yeah, let's do this thing!
Steve glides down over Bishop's Bowl
Ben coming in for a smooth landing
Here comes Buddy soaring 500 feet above the ground!

We definitely recommend the Sundance Zip Rider. Great views and an excellent adventure were enjoyed by all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Epic 4th Weekend Part Two - Fireworks

There are only two things we need for a great Fourth of July celebration - flag cake and fireworks. Oh, and beer. Don't forget beer.

As has become tradition, the girls outdid themselves with the annual flag cake. And I got wise this year and bought more than double the fruit we need because somehow a whole lot of strawberries and blueberries disappear during the decorating process.

The very best part about hosting an Independence Day BBQ is that everybody brings fireworks to share! We ended up with quite the haul and, yes, lit of almost all of them.

I know that fireworks are polluting and dangerous and fire hazards... but man are they fun!

The kids divide up the loot and plan their attack
Despite the face, sparklers are still fun for teenagers, I promise
But six-year-olds do enjoy them more
We did this for hours. And it never got old
The aftermath - God bless America!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Epic 4th Weekend Part One - Antelope by Moonlight

We had a truly fantastic 4th of July weekend complete with camping, bike riding, a BBQ, fireworks, and even an afternoon on the new Sundance Zip Rider. When we do a holiday weekend, we do it right!

Stop one on our 4th of July extravaganza was the Antelope by Moonlight bike ride.

Last year was our first Antelope by Moonlight ride and we had so much fun that we knew we had to do it again, bring friends, and put way more lights on our bikes.

This year's theme was Back to the Future and we were totally up for the challenge. Our first task upon arriving at Antelope Island was to get the bikes and costumes ready for the ride. This involved a lot of glow sticks, some el tape, a small fortune in batteries, tens of zip ties, and a Doc Brown wig.

Nailed it!
The whole crew is ready to go!

WanYing got to ride in style on the Xtracycle - lucky!
Our whole group finished the 24 mile ride at about 1:30 am. It was a long ride for the kids but they finished the whole thing and the boys rode every last mile. It was a hot, beautiful night and we had a blast riding in the full moon along with a few thousand other be-lighted revelers.

If you live in the area and enjoy a good time on two wheels definitely add Antelope by Moonlight to your list of rides to try.

In the morning we headed to the "beach" for our annual "swim" in the Great Salt Lake. Thanks to low rainfall for a few years, the lake is very low and very salty, making for a long walk to the water and extra-buoyant floating.

WanYing is not a fan of the smell. She declined to swim this year. Hard to blame her.
Buddy was up for the adventure, though! (note the on-theme t-shirt)

The Great Salt Lake was, as always, very odd. It's an interesting sensation to sit cross-legged in the water and float without having to tread water. We enjoy our annual float and are always grateful for the coin-op showers conveniently located next to the rootbeer float stand. We gratefully contributed our money to both.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Anniversary Getaway

This weekend we enjoyed an amazing anniversary getaway at Sundance. I just can't believe that we have a place this amazing 20 minutes from our front door!

We spent the weekend eating (a lot), mountain biking (not enough), hiking (just right), drinking (probably too much), and just enjoying hanging out with our very favorite person in the whole wide world (never enough). It was a sweet, chill, beautiful weekend. The perfect celebration.

After Friday night's Bluebird concert we decided to try our hand at mountain biking on Saturday. You may recall that my last mountain biking attempt, almost exactly one year ago, ended spectacularly catastrophically with me unable to walk for almost a month. It was truly terrible.

So, of course, we had to try again. We stuck to easy trails and, like a weenie, I walked down all intimidating-looking parts. Steve was very patient. We had the power of matching orange shirts, so we were pretty much destined to have a great day (I swear, neither of us realized this was happening as we packed for the weekend).

The trails were amazing and a good mix of Steve's love of downhill and my love of wide roads and climbing. I tell you what, if you could combine the two of us you would get some kind of mega-biker.

So, despite our proven accident-proneness we made it down the mountain in one piece with no falls and big smiles.

Saturday night ended with our favorite dinner in the whole wide world - Bearclaw Supper Club! We couldn't decide whether we should just wuss out and take the lift up or not, but eventually Steve sweetly acquiesced to Jamie's enthusiasm and we "earned our appetizers" by hiking up to the top of Sundance.

And, oh my goodness, thank goodness we did because the lift broke down and everybody else was delayed for an hour. That's right folks, we had this spread all to ourselves for a full hour while they worked to get the rest of the guests up! Best private party ever.

Yes, we did all that damage to the honeycomb all by ourselves. No, we had no regrets.

The rest of the guests did eventually arrive, which was good because then they brought out the carving table and other hors d'oeuvres and the band started playing instead of just sitting around and drinking with us. Of course, after eating roughly my body weight in sausage, cheese, bread, and honey I was pretty much useless for the rest of the food but I did manage to find space for a cream puff or three.

As the sun set we finished our glasses of wine and third or fifth creme puff and just marveled. This beautiful weekend. This beautiful world. The blessings, adventures, tough stuff, and growth we've experienced in our first 17 years. It's a lot to be grateful for.

A few weeks ago, Pastor Scott preached on trials and tough times and said that, "at the end of perseverance is joy." That has certainly been our experience. I believe that it will be true through the rest of the tough stuff that life will bring - that at the end of every time of perseverance we will find joy.

The coolest part of the evening (and that's saying something, since the whole day was totally amazing) was this rainbow that God blessed us with. I can't imagine a better way to remember and celebrate the promise that two kids made 17 years ago. God is good and God is faithful - we are living proof.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bike MS 150

It's with mingled relief and soreness that I say goodbye to June and the year's big cycling month! Between the Little Red Riding Hood century, the Huntsman 140, and the Bike MS 150, June was full of big rides for big causes. Riding alongside cancer survivors and MS patients and riding for so many folks who are struggling with tough diseases sure makes a gal grateful that she can hop on two wheels and cover some miles in their honor.

This is the "I'm not sure if my butt can take another 40 miles" grimace.

Day 1 and 100 miles complete! It was especially fun to ride with Matthew on his first century.

The highlight of the weekend was camping with my fam. There's nothing better than coming off of a long ride and seeing these smiling faces and a cool stream!

We had a smaller crew for Sunday but still enjoyed a fabulous day of riding

I was proud and grateful to finish the whole MS 150 - it was a big weekend for a big cause!


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