Thursday, September 15, 2011


Photos from our long weekend in Utah:

1. Our first order of business while in Utah was Temple Square. We wanted to help Pauline understand a bit more about our faith and our heritage. I could visit Temple Square every day and never tire of it. It's so beautiful, well taken care of, and peaceful. The Christus is an especially reverent spot to visit. I love this picture of Ethan and Lily in front of the statue of Christ because they look so small and little and I am reminded of what precious gifts they are.

2. The Wasatch 100 mile Endurance Run was the reason we traveled to Utah. Brandon has wanted to compete in this race for some time, but because of the popularity of the race, you have to be drawn in a lottery to secure a spot. This year, his name was drawn. This was his toughest race yet, by far. He said this race made all other 100 milers he's done look like child's play, which is saying a lot considering he's ran in Alaska in February pulling a 35 pound sled. The trails were so technical and rocky causing some serious ankle issues and by the time he finished, his ankle was so swollen we had to cut off his compression socks in order to remove them. I've never seen him in so much pain. The altitude was another issue. For us lowlanders who live at 400 feet above sea level, this race was tough, with altitudes hovering mostly around 8000-10,000 feet. He had a rough time. But he is NOT a quitter. He finished with just minutes to spare before the time cut-off and got his belt buckle. He's still trying to decide if he would ever do this race again.

3. We were lucky enough to catch The Lower Lights in concert while in SLC. We loved the show and it was good to see all the wonderful musicians who make up the group. They performed a few new songs from their most recent recording, which makes me excited for their upcoming album because their new material was fantastic. Pauline loved the show as well, and said she didn't want it to end.

4. It's always amazing to visit the Tabernacle on Temple Square and to think about what a special building that is. The organ, the painted wood pews, the architecture.

5. The reflection pool at Temple Square. One of my favorite spots.

6. Pauline's father is an architect and she enjoyed the beautiful structures on Temple Square.

7. After recently participating in a local pioneer trek experience, Ethan really appreciated anything having to do with the pioneers.

8. One of the most special parts about visiting Temple Square was meeting with some sister missionaries who took us on a tour of the grounds. One of our tour guides was Sister Renard who is from Belgium, and who speaks French, and was able to help Pauline understand more about Temple Square. It was a treat for me to walk around and listen to them speaking French. The other sister was from Hong Kong and she was a sweetheart. One funny thing that happened while we were in the Conference Center was when she was telling Lily and me about President Hinckley's vision for the center and how he wanted there to be no obstruction of the guests views of the Prophet. She asked Lily what she thought was holding up the massive ceiling in the Conference Center, and Lily, with the most serious of answers said, "Faith?" We got quite a chuckle from that.

9. A special treat for me and the kids was to meet up for lunch with Mindy and Courtney at Mindy's home.  We ate delicious Thai food and chatted for a couple of hours. Both Mindy and Courtney speak French and so Pauline fit right in. The conversation with these wonderful women was fascinating, and when we left, Pauline said to me, "They were both charming." I completely agree.

10. The doors on the Salt Lake Temple are my favorite part of the building. [By the way, Madeline and Jocelyn aren't pictured in any of these pictures because they didn't go with us. It was decided that they would miss too much here at home. School, Volleyball, Cosmetology. They stayed with my parents and we missed them.]

11. Ethan and Lily looking at their reflections near the Temple.

Other highlights not pictured:
+ dinner at Cafe Rio [always delicious]
+ dinner at Zupas with cousin Jen and our dear friend Kristen. This was one of the highlights for us, as it has been many years since we have seen Kristen. We love you both! [We should have taken a picture!!]
+ dinner at Buca di Beppo
+ shopping
+ driving through Parley's Canyon to meet Brandon at an aid station. The kids asked me to pull over so they could grab a red rock as a souvenir.
+ driving alone through Park City in the wee hours of the morning, before dawn, to see Brandon at the Brighton aid station. An experience I will never forget.

I love going to Utah. The air feels cleaner, the mountain ranges are gorgeous, and visiting friends and family are the added perks of the trip. Pauline told us that she fell in love with Utah. We hope to return again in the Spring.