Now on to New Year’s

And just like that, the formal Christmas holiday is over. And in an unlikely twist of fate, we had a very white Christmas. It’s snowed once this entire season and the snow decided to come in around 2am on Christmas morning. We woke up to 4+ inches of beautiful snow. The kids were elated. As an adult that had to drive to my folks’ house and back on Christmas night, it drove me nuts. We were lucky to drive the 80 miles from Elk Ridge to Fruit Heights on a van that needs new tires and on a freeway that at times was snow packed. We’re in the market for a new minivan so we are a bit leery about dumping $400 into new tires on the current van.

About a week ago Jen and I were driving into Salt Lake Valley and, with the seriously gorgeous weather we’ve been having, we decided to hike Ensign Peak on Christmas Eve. Neither Jen nor I had ever made the half-mile trek up the hill, although some of our kids had through school excursions. It was about 42 degrees when we started our hike but it was pretty windy on top and a bit chilly. Jen dropped her smartphone on the trail and didn’t realize it. Luckily, a runner stumbled across it and called the last number she’d called, which was me. He ran up to the top of the peak where we were and handed us her phone. It was a Christmas (Eve) miracle. 🙂

I hoofed my camera and tripod to the peak and snapped a few family photos.

I hoofed my camera and tripod to the peak and snapped a few family photos.

Normal Family

Temple Square from Ensign Peak.

Temple Square from Ensign Peak.

Lauren on Ensign Peak looking southeast.

Lauren on Ensign Peak looking southeast.

We all really enjoyed our Christmas. Austin. Jen, and I all picked up a cold prior to the holiday and weren’t feeling very good, but we still had a great day. Jen’s parents, sister Katie, and brother Ryan all spent the day with us. Ryan orchestrated the creation of “coal” for Lauren’s stocking. The coal was really Oreos, butter, and marshmallows hardened like Rice Krispy Treats and made to look like coal. It was a fitting gift for her, and she took the joke well.

Mom and Dad Clark with 6 of their kids -- 5 weren't present!

Mom and Dad Clark with 6 of their kids — 5 weren’t present!

Leah and I played about 10 hands of this game.

Leah and I played about 10 hands of this game.

Mark and Marcie and all eight of their grandkids.

Mark and Marcie and all eight of their grandkids.

Five of us were playing Monopoly and we happened to all land on this corner at the same time.

Five of us were playing Monopoly and we happened to all land on this corner at the same time.

Mom, Dad, and Uncle Jack (dad's brother who is 12 years older) at a family dinner.

Mom, Dad, and Uncle Jack (dad’s brother who is 12 years older) at a family dinner.

At Temple Square

At Temple Square

Christmas Eve -- remember, this shows gifts for my entire family, plus Jen's parents and two of her siblings.

Christmas Eve — remember, this shows gifts for my entire family, plus Jen’s parents and two of her siblings.

Before being allowed to see what Santa brought.

Before being allowed to see what Santa brought.

Lauren opening a gift.

Lauren opening a gift.

On a lame note, our garage door broke on Christmas Eve. One of the two torsion springs that help the door open and close under control snapped and the cables on the side were going out as well. They don’t sell the springs at your local home center so I happily decided to call a professional today. An hour and $200 later, our garage door opens and closes better and quieter than it ever has. I have a screw drive opener and I just accepted the fact that they were loud openers. The service man added some grease to the track and it quieted right up.

We've had about 3 days of smog this winter, and I ran in one of them.

We’ve had about 3 days of smog this winter, and I ran in one of them.

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