Thursday, August 18, 2011

Utah- An Experience As Legendary As The Olympics!

Earlier this year, my wonderful boss, Harriett, offered me a week's stay at her vacation home in Park City, UT.  It was a wonderful thank you gift for my four years as Program Director for Invest in Youth.  I am ever so grateful for her generosity... Utah was a once in a lifetime experience for all. 

Our parents and Joe's brother, Jay, were available to make the trip!  Evelyn was delighted to spend a week with both sets of grandparents and really enjoyed her time with Uncle Jay!  She was always up and ready to play and it was always a struggle to get her to nap because she was fearful she would miss the action!  She slept well at night because our daily activities tuckered her out. 

The first weekend we were there we celebrated Evelyn's birthday with Joe's parents and Jay.  My parents didn't arrive until Sunday evening.  We took in a fireworks show and the Park City 4th of July Parade on Independence Day.  We spent lots of time exploring downtown and the surrounding area, taking walks, sitting on the porch reading and chatting, and playing board games late into the evening.  Perhaps the most memorable day was our trip to see where the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics were held in 2002!
opening gifts on the patio at the house!

Grandpa G., Evelyn and Jay at the 4th of July Parade

Waiting for the parade to start

Happy 4th of July!
The Olympic Park was so incredible.  Our parents all volunteered to watch Evelyn while, Jay, Joe and I experienced the park first hand.  We bought a pass that allowed us to ride both zip lines (one was slightly steeper and longer than the other- the went right over the ski jump/long jump courses), the alpine slide (similar to the skeleton, only we were sitting on a sled) and the bobsled.

We decided to ride the bobsled first!  Before riding, you had to sit through a 5 minute video orientation and sign your life away on multiple papers.  This preparation only made me more nervous to actually go through with the riding.  My mind kept racing to the worst-case scenarios of what would become of Evelyn if our bobsled toppled/crashed etc.  Something kept pushing me forward though and when we were standing in front of the sled on the track with helmets on, there was no turning back.  Jay, Joe and I all rode in one sled, with Landon our professional pilot steering in front.  I sat 2 seat and Joe and Jay sat 3 seat and 4 seat, respectively.  I had two main goals:
1. not to crush Landon with my legs (which were wrapped on either side of him)
2. not to let my head move much

My other major goal was not to die on the way down, but I left that in God's hands because by hopping in the sled, I was completely surrendering my control!

In a minute, our first Olympic race came to a screeching halt!  We had survived, and according to Landon, I hadn't squeezed him to death.  Judging by how sore my neck was, I know my head didn't move very much...I basically didn't breathe or move the entire way down, nor did I utter a scream!  Shocking!  I think I was just too scared to move!  Our finishing time was the fastest of the day (at that point); so Jay and Joe were pleased.  I was just thrilled to see Evelyn's smiling face at the finish and proud for going through with it... I DID have a blast and I'll always be happy I took the chance!  
I shouldn't be doing this...

One final push... and they're off!

Happy it's over!

Bobsledder in training

Joe and Evelyn in the Olympic Museum
The other rides were fun, but nothing could really compare to the thrill of the bobsled.  We loved the zip lines; the view was remarkable.  What Joe and I couldn't fathom was how the long jump skiers go down the jump for the first time.  How do you decided to free fall for the first time?  

We finished out the day at the alpine slide. The alpine slide was not my best event.  I was behind Jay and Joe (I didn't want them crashing into me on the way down).  I didn't like having to operate my own sled.  My break was a little too strong from the beginning and I really couldn't get momentum after that.  Needless to say, Joe and Jay finished 2 to 3 minutes before me, after starting only seconds before me on the slide.  I had everyone deeply concerned, my father especially, because it took me such a long time to get down the hill!  My dad was ready to climb up the slide to save me!  Lucky for them and for me, I was fine, just very slow!

The week came to a close all too quickly.  Our 4th Anniversary was July 8, the day we were leaving, so Joe and I had hoped to go out to celebrate at the end of the week.  We decided it would be more fun to have the whole family celebrate with us, so we all went out to dinner together.  Jay paid for everyone-- it was truly sweet of him and we were all so appreciative.  Evelyn wasn't too excited to be in a fancy steakhouse, so my dad offered to take her out of the restaurant.  At the end of dinner she returned with Grandpa, a much happier little lady.  Dinner was delicious and we really can't thank Jay enough for making it such a memorable anniversary dinner!

Jay, Grandpa, Joe, Evelyn, me, and Grandma

Grandpa and Grammie Guerin with Evelyn

Evelyn in the back yard at the Park City house

Smelling the daisies before we left

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