Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mormon Helping Hands at Folsom Lake

In April, our Young Single Adult ward participated in a service day at Beal's Point at Folsom Lake.  
This event is called Mormon Helping Hands or Day of Community Service.  
The idea behind this is that every ward or congregation in California comes together that day 
to serve and give back to the community that they live in. 
 I really really love this idea because I love my community so much
 and I particularly loved this project because we have spent so much time
 at Folsom Lake and made so many great memories at this State Park.
 I also love this Day of Community Service because I serve on the Public Affairs Council
 and this is one of my responsibilities to organize the service projects for this day.
Here is Teri, the Park Ranger, who was so great to work with, 
giving us final instructions that morning.
 One of the projects at Beal's Point was painting the split rail fence at the Amphitheater.
 The weather was beautiful that day, which made it really nice for this crew, who are busy painting.
 Danielle, Morgan, Kara and Sara.  What a cute group of gals!
 Our sister missionaries came and helped us that day.  They are great!
 We also had a group of guys that were busy weed wacking around the amphitheater.
 Sierra and Amy are all smiles as they are working hard.
 Aina, the cutest Hawaiian.  Just look at the paint on her legs.
I told the boys to smile for me and this is what I got. Ha! Ha!
After these cute kids finished the projects, they headed over to our house for a BBQ lunch 
and spent the rest of the afternoon, swimming and hanging out by our pool.
It was a great day with our YSAs serving together, working side by side,
and relaxing and enjoying each other.  They are such a great group of kids!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SkiFest 2013!

Every SkiFest is a party, but this year was especially fun 
with Carolyn and Dave Johnson joining us on this ski trip to Park City!
To start all the fun, we enjoyed a snowy ski day at Deer Valley.
It was a winter wonderland with these gals and the beautiful new fallen snow!
Even though it was freezing cold and snowing, 
we had to stop and take some couples pictures, 
so here is Liz and Mark Skinner.
Carolyn and Dave are all bundled up on this snowy day.
And Mark and me on a snowy day!
We came into the lodge for a few minutes to warm up
and Liz snapped this photo of me covered in snow!
That hot chocolate never tasted so good!
By the time Liz took this photo, I think I had already finished off all the hot cocoa in my cup! Yum!
That night, we dined at Grappa's, one of our all-time favorite restaurants on Main Street.
The decor is so quaint and cute, both inside and outside and the food is amazing!
One of our favorite items on the menu is the grape and gorgonzola salad! Delicious!
It was Dave and Carolyn's first time at the restaurant and they seem pretty happy about their entree selection!
SkiFest wouldn't be SkiFest without these two.
New fallen snow and Grappa's is the perfect combination for this guy!
The next day, the guys skied at Canyon's while the girls were going to do a little shopping.
With the fresh powder, Mark talked me into taking a couple of runs down 9990 first.
We were in line early that morning, ready to make some "first tracks"
but by the time we made our way over to 9990,
we found this long line of hardcore guys that were waiting for the lift to open.
I've never seen it so crowded but I think that because it's been such a dismal snow year, 
this was one of the first great powder days and everyone came out to enjoy the fresh snow!
We found a moose up on the trail so Liz had to stop and get a photo.
Too bad you can't really see him but we could and you know,
 we never do tire of finding the moose at Canyons!
Carolyn was pretty excited too when we found the moose!
We had to stop and try the waffles at Bruges Waffles at the base of Red Pine Lodge.
Yum! Yum! Yum!  We all agreed that they are pretty delicious!
Had such a fun time with these two!
And Mark had a pretty fun guy hanging out with this guy in his neon one piece!
While the guys were skiing 9990, the girls did a little photo shoot with the Epic mix guys.
And as you can see, we had way too much fun!
I think the Epic mix photographer had a little bit too much fun too.
He just kept coming up with silly poses and we just did what ever he told us too,
which made for some really fun pictures!
The girls are all ready for diner that night at Fireside Dining.
And the guys look ready to go too!
The group enjoying a spectacular evening together!
Fireside Dining at Deer Valley is one of the most unique dining experiences ever,
where your dinner is cooked over the fire at four different stations.
This is the soup and salad station.
The fireplace where the warm Swiss raclette drips onto the plates.
The station where the leg of lamb is fire-roasted.
Grabbing my second serving of the Swiss cheese.  
It was just that good that I had to go back for more!
On to the dessert station!  Yum!
These two look pretty excited about the goodies!
The chocolate fondue is seriously out of this world good!
Even though this photo is blurry, this is one of my all-time favorite photos of this group!
We were busy filling out plates with dessert goodies but then we saw the sleigh outside, 
just sitting there with the driver and my Mark said, "Let's get a photo of you girls with the sleigh!"  
So Carolyn, Liz and I quickly put our plates down and follow my Mark outside.
Dave and Mark Skinner, who was injured, thought that they were supposed to be in the photo, 
so they dropped their plates and ran out in the freezing cold.
By the time we turned around they were right behind us, so we all jumped in the photo,
freezing and laughing and feeling so bad for poor Mark, who had hobbled out there
ready to pose for the photo and the poor guy was freezing but such a good sport. 
He didn't want to miss out on anything, not even a silly picture!  What a guy!
Back at the dessert station, my plate is full!
At the end of our yummy dinner, we are all happy and full!
This guy, who had taken a bad fall earlier in the day, was the best sport all night!
He didn't miss out on any of the fun, even though we later found out
 that he cracked a couple of ribs and his clavicle bone.
He never complained once!  What a guy!
What a great night with our friends!
Fireside Dining is truly one of the best dining experiences ever!
The next morning, Liz woke up to find this!
A couple of weeks earlier, I sent an email to her friends and family 
and asked them to write a love note to Liz to wish her a happy birthday.
The notes were all so clever and cute that Carolyn and I decided
 to decorate the wall outside of her bedroom to surprise her when she woke up.
It was so fun to see the look on her face when she saw the note on the wall,
and read all the cute birthday wishes that her family and friend sent to her.
It was the perfect way to start her birthday celebration!
Walking around Main Street, enjoying the beautiful statues.
For years, Liz has talked about dining at Zoom, 
a restaurant on Main Street, which is owned by Robert Redford.
One year, she made reservations and was so excited, 
and kept asking me if there was a chance that we would see "Bob" there.
Liz has a little crush on Bob!  Cute, huh?! 
 I told her that Bob doesn't usually spend much time in Park City,
 nor have I ever seen him at his restaurant on Main Street,
but the food is great at Zoom and I assured her that even if we didn't see "Bob"
 we would have a great time together!
Well, unfortunately, the day before we were supposed to dine at Zoom, 
Mark Skinner's dad, who had been ill, took a turn for the worst 
and they had to immediately fly home.
Liz didn't get to go to Zoom and what made things worse 
was that while Sue Jack and I were shopping on Main Street,
and we ran into "Bob" right outside of his restaurant.  
We walked right past him while he was putting something in the trunk of his car.
We stopped and gawked and took a picture!  
Then we felt bad that Liz wasn't there because she would have been so excited!
The next year, our trip fell right on her birthday,
 so I made reservations at Zoom and planned a fun celebration for Liz!
Unfortunately, on Liz's birthday, while we were getting ready, 
about an hour before our dinner, I got a call from the restaurant that cancelled the reservation.
 They said that they had a fire in the kitchen and had to shutdown the restaurant that night.
Are you kidding me? What are the odds!?
So this year, we once again made plans to celebrate Liz's birthday at Zoom.
I was kind of nervous that something would go wrong 
but we were SO happy that all went well, no fire, nothing stood in the way of the fun.
And even though Robert didn't show up to wish Liz a Happy Birthday,
we had a lovely dinner and super fun time celebrating at his restaurant!
Liz, crushing on Bob! Ha! Ha! Gosh, I love that gal!
We had to get a photo of the Johnsons with the moose on Main Street!
Apparently, the Johnsons love the moose just as much as Mark.
The Johnsons and Skinners gave us this cute Let It Snow pillow!
What a darling addition to our cabin decorations!
I absolutely love it and every time I look at it 
I will remember the fun trip that we had together with these dear friends!
We had to take a photo of cute Liz all dressed up, by her wall of love!!
Happy Birthday, Liz!  We all love you very much!
On Sunday morning, we attended the performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,
at Music and the Spoken Word at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
Ashley and Allison drove up to join us that morning.
We had such a wonderful morning enjoying the beautiful music and feeling the sweet spirit there,
but also, walking around Temple Square and sharing the wonderful exhibits at the Visitor's Center 
was truly a special experience to share with our dear friends.
I love that even though so many of my friends, are not of our faith (#ImaMormon) 
that they are so respectful and supportive, and enjoy learning more about what we believe, 
and sincerely encourage us to live by our principals and standards.
But what I love most about our friends is how we enjoy discussing our common religious beliefs.
Because really, we all have more in common then most think and that is a wonderful blessing!
Such a great group in front of the beautiful Salt Lake Temple!
And then we had to take another photo because the view from this side of the temple was pretty unreal!
SO glad that these two could spend time with us that day!
Love my Ashley!
It was another wonderful SkiFest! 
And this SpiritualFest was the perfect way to end our time together in Utah!