Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ski Racers

Here's Sasha to tell you all about her ski race this weekend:

This weekend I had a race my hole sundance ski team was there and they had bibs that went up to 300 something my number was 250. after the race was a barbucue. i went

guess what time i got? before you read this part my time was 51.14 . i got a medel exept we didnt stay for the awards but someone at school i know stayed for the awards and i can get it next ski practise day

and know you know about sasha's ski day. 

And, not to be outdone, WanYing adds:

At the race I was number 216. And at the end of the race they told me my speed number, how long it took, and it was 59. I felt good about my skiing.

And WanYing wanted to tell you about her big new ski accessory:

These are my new poles. I've been waiting for poles for a little bit a long time because my mom and dad couldn't find the right poles for me. And then they found them. They have like skate grips on them and it latches on the pole. The skate grips are important because my thumb can't fit all the way around my pole and it's hard to grab it.

It felt good using them for the first time.

Monday, February 22, 2016

WanYing's First Biathlon

A few weeks ago, WanYing, Sasha, Ben, and the whole Sundance Nordic Team went up to Soldier Hollow for a biathlon clinic. Soldier Hollow was the Nordic venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics, so they have a full biathlon stadium and invested in a very cool set of specialized pellet guns for training.

Here's WanYing to tell you about her experience:

What a biathlon is you get to shoot a gun after they tell you about how to shoot a gun. And then you get to shoot a gun, a real life gun, and then you take a lap around a loop on cross country skis then you get to shoot. I think you do that three times and then it ends.

You can't be in front of the gun or else if you hit it in the right spot you can die.

I was with my whole cross country team and lots of other people were there.

The best part was shooting. It was hard. But Ben said if I got a target I could get a dollar from him. But I didn't get a target - but I was really close to getting one!

The hardest part was aiming cause you have to look through a little hole and get the dot lined up with the gun and then shoot it.

I want to do it again!

WanYing's face of fierce concentration
Sasha takes a loop with the deer!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Qualtrics Insight Summit 2016

Every February Mommy disappears for a few weeks of super intense, super fun, super intense (did I mention that?) work preparing for and being a small part of executing the Qualtrics Insight Summit in Salt Lake.

It's an amazing event, all about the power of data and insights.

We have 2,000 customers there - TWO THOUSAND!

We have world-class speakers, all talking about the power of insights - Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Dubner, and Captain Phillips were my favorites this year.

I even got to speak for about 15 minutes on the mainstage, showing off our new products to all 2,500 attendees.
Let me explain this correlation scatterplot to you...
In case you're wondering, here's the back of that amazing screen. Almost more mesmerizing than the front!

At Qualtrics, we work hard and we play hard - sometimes even at the same time!

This year we had a private concert with Steven Tyler, which was amazing.

And Steve and I both worked and played hard as we taught first timers to ski at the Summit Ski Day.
The only time you'll ever see us matching.

Qualtrics Insight Summit 2016 was a total blast. Qualtrics definitely knows how to throw a party!

Now all I want to do is sleep for the next two days...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Happy Gotcha Day, Alexandra Grace

Seven years ago today, we entered the Botakoz baby house in Karaganda, Kazakhstan for the 27th consecutive day.

But this day was different. After months of paperwork, weeks of travel, and days of court hearings, on February 17th, 2009 we entered the baby house as the official, legal, overjoyed parents of Alexandra Grace Morningstar.

Today we celebrate the day that we welcomed the spunkiest, zaniest, hardworkingest, most affectionate little gal in Kazakstan into our family!

Happy Gotcha Day, Sasha! We are so grateful that we are yours and you are ours.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Ben, the Unicycle Master

It all started Christmas Eve one year ago...

He worked and worked at it and got really darn good!

We tripled the ante this Christmas

And if there was any doubt before now, here's conclusive proof that Ben is really freaking darn cool...

We just hope there are unicycle scholarships to college.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hope and a Future

This was a big weekend for our family - WanYing's birthday, Superbowl party, Chinese New Year celebrations, a sledding party, and our first Sunday meeting in our new church building! So much to celebrate, so much to contemplate.

Meeting in our new church building this morning was amazing. This has been such a long road for CenterPoint Church - this building is a decade in the making! Steve and I were a part of the original decision to purchase property on Sandhill Road. We've given and participated in 3 separate fundraising campaigns, dozens of work days, and countless Sundays as a church on the move as we've met in 4 different schools in Utah County. It's been a long, tough, often heartbreaking journey as we've overcome opposition and roadblocks, trusting God all the way.

And nowhere we are, worshiping as a church family in our very own church home! And I just step back in wonder and awe at what God has accomplished in us and through us. Yes, meeting in a building of our very own is glorious - it feels amazing to have space that we built, designed, and decorated to be our very own.

But what's more amazing is how God has sustained us as we have learned to trust in him day by day, Sunday by Sunday, decision by decision. I love our building, but I love even more the character we have developed as a church family. That character, that faith lasts so much longer and reaches out so much wider than the four walls of any church building.

And the funny thing is that Chinese New Year means a lot of the same things to me.

I'll level with you - regular New Year's is a complicated time for us as a family. Steve's mom passed away 4 years ago at New Year's and our family entered a despairing season that almost tore our marriage and family apart.

And after a very dark January, suddenly it was time to celebrate Chinese New Year and this bright and colorful day invaded our dark season with hope.

And so we rejoice that we are individuals, a family, a people, a church, with a hope and a future. And, yes, we revel in the happiness of a finished building, a strong family, the end results of so many miracles strung together. But what is more important than the "happily ever after" (because no story is ever done!) is the truth we've lived that God is with us in our troubles.

God's provision and love for us is most strongly demonstrated in the dark times when he sustains us step by step.

Over the years, I've come to deeply love Lamentations 3. In the middle of unspeakable horrors, deep depression, and a seemingly hopeless situation, the author bursts out with:
I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
God's faithfulness sustained the author of Lamentations before anything changed about his situation. And that's the source of my deep joy this weekend - not that everything has or will ended up "happily ever after" but that God's loyal and merciful love is new every morning, and that my faithful God is more than enough.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Happy Birthday WanYing!

A very happy birthday to the...
...donut eatingest...
...gift openingest...
...doll matchingest...
...biathlon shootingest...
(with the cutest concentration face)
...Starbucks lunchiest...
...sledding partiest..
...seven-year-old on the planet! All that and it isn't even dinnertime yet!

Happy Happy Birthday WanYing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ben explains about Nordic skiing and how unfair his mean mom is

(Article by Ben, Title and Captions by Mom)

this is ben i'm going to explain why i'm writing on the blog (because its usually my mom writing and someone somewhere might be confused) so basically the resin is that well i hmmm suck at writing so i'm going to be doing one of these a week until i don't suck at writing witch may never happen so i'm just getting practice unless i have a writing project due in school then i wont make one of these so i can focus on that

anyway now that thats out of the way i would like to talk about what the difference between the two forms of cross country classic and skate now lets start with classic it has a binding where only your toe is secure and the rest of your foot is free to move there are fish scale like spots  that are in the middle where your feet are on top of so that you cant move backwards as easily but you can move foreword

Ben skate skiing
the point of this is so you can push off and then slide the difference between skate and classic is that skate dosen't so you use your eages to go and its harder to go uphill but way easy to go on flat areas due to less fiction you can slide way better so yea thats the difrance
Mean Mom skate skiing (only marginally related to the post but kind of a cute photo so a pity not to include)


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