Valebirthersary 2016

This year we combined three special occasions into one weekend. We combined my 30th birthday adventure, Valentine’s Day and just for fun, our 5 and a half year wedding anniversary, into Valebirthersary. We ditched the kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, scheduled a late night pedicure (shoutout to Aveda Essence Salon & Day Spa – we loved you!), stayed at a hotel with complimentary Aggie Ice Cream (Blue Mint!), enjoyed breakfast at IHOP, and went snowboarding at Beaver Mountain with great snow and sun rays. We had a great weekend celebrating three milestones and are thankful to those who made it awesome!

Hope’s picture is probably set to private but I tried pasting it below:


Pura Vida/Pure Life

I had an eye opening, enriching experience last week as I traveled to Costa Rica. Preparing weeks in advance as part of a class, I went with a community development perspective in mind. Everywhere I went I saw or heard the phrase “pura vida”, or pure life. When asked how they were doing, people would respond with “pura vida!” I thought at first this was some motto crafted for visitors and that the locals working in tourism were annoyingly obligated to say. However as we toured a three-generation family farm, I started to catch the vision of the pure life as the current farm manager described how growing organically was best for his family. As I processed what he was saying about not having a huge coffee bean harvest this year and having no regrets about not using chemicals, I thought about the learning and growing experiences his family has probably had over the years. Later on during the week I found myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of another farm, taking in the ambiance of farm life. As fire flies came out in the evening air, I smiled and said to myself, this is la pura vida.

Even though I only experienced a small part of it, Costa Rica was beautiful in so many ways. From cloud forests to coffee farms, from women’s co-ops to humble villagers, from zip-lining through forest canopies to long drives on dirt roads, and so much more that I hope to experience in the future, Costa Rica is the perfect embodiment of the pure life! Check out the utarica15 hashtag on Instagram for pictures!

Day 1: Slight flight delay due to a volcano eruption!

Day 2: Monteverde Cloud Forest, CASEM Women’s Arts and Craft’s Co-op

Day 3: Ecobambu paper-making microenterprise, Vargas Family Farm and soap-making microenterprise

Day 4: Cafetal Coffee Farm, Canopy zipline tour

Day 5-7: Service in Los Tornos surveying different members of the community to determine the possibility of developing a community garden project.

Salvaging Winter

This weekend and last weekend we attempted to make the best of what was left of winter. Parental duties, school duties, Scouting duties, and lack of snow made it difficult to enjoy this winter. A few months ago before everything melted we snowshoed. Last weekend we visited my home in the Tetons and went for a beautiful walk up Teton Canyon. It reminded me of my days at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp. I spent two summer camps and one winter camp there. It made me nostalgic looking at my favorite mountains in the entire world!

Earlier this week after the big storm hit we went sledding up Mill Creek Canyon. Yesterday we found an awesome place to do some “backcountry” snowboarding, that was away from the crowds. We drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the winter closure of the Guardsman Pass road. There was so much snow up there! I do not know why I never thought of it before. It was the perfect place to spend a few hours snowboarding down a patch of snow, then walking back up. Other people had the same idea, but were fancy and maybe a little obnoxious with their snowmobiles. A Boy Scout troop was even up there doing a winter camp. Nonetheless, the Guardsman Pass road seems like a great place to go adventuring!

Our Grand Staircase-Escalante Adventure

TRAILHEAD Recreation

We had quite the adventure last weekend in Grand Staircase-Escalante. We drove down Friday night and searched for a spot on Hole in the Rock road. We found a random spot and set up camp in the dark. When we awoke Saturday morning we were treated to beautiful views of a plateau.

We hiked up Peek-a-boo Gulch and down Spooky Gulch, which made me anxious and claustrophobic, especially when Porter started to scream as we had to pass him through the really narrow parts. On the drive out of the Hole in the Rock area we must have kicked up a rock because our radiator was leaking pretty bad when we got to Calf Creek Campground. We attempted to go to Boulder to buy antifreeze but the leak seemed worse as we drove and the high temperature light was a gloomy indicator of the seriousness of our situation. No reception…

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Birthday Celebration 2014

What is better than celebrating a birthday? Celebrating it over the course of the week! I felt the birthday love last week as it started with my aunts wishing me happy birthday before my birthday even started. Hope and I enjoyed lettuce wraps and other Chinese deliciousness at P.F. Changs the night before my birthday. I arrived at work the next day to find my desk decorated. Several coworkers gifted me candy, and one even bought me an exquisite strawberry shake. That night I lived out a childhood dream as I fought other kids for the driver’s seat in a fire engine at a fire station open house. To top it off Hope gave me an awesome gift: a giant cast iron skillet to cook my bacon in. I could not have asked for a better week.