Apparently I’ve had enough birthdays on this planet to turn 40 next year. I’ve heard of people creating a list of things to do as a way to celebrate and embrace this moment. I’ve got a lot of little things like that on the brain, so I figured I’d give it a go.
#1 Calls Drive In
JUNE 2 – Kim’s family has been loyal to a drive-in called Maddox since the beginning of time. Down the road, however, there’s another option I’ve always been intrigued by. I figured my birthday was the perfect time to be a rebel. Pretty dang tasty!
#2 Birthday Bowling
JUNE 4 – Before the pandemic started I’d gone bowling on my birthday for nearly 15 years; a tradition that eventually grew in size as my family did. Getting this tradition rolling again was something I had pretty high on my list.
#3 Salt Lake Shred Game
JUNE 10 – Kim and I played a lot of ultimate frisbee in college. Tuesday and Thursday evenings on the quad, watching the sun set, tossing discs with out friends…hard to beat. When a professional ultimate team came to Utah and one of those college friends we used to play with wanted us to come with him? How could we say no?
#4 Eat a Food I’ve Always Been a Bit Leery Of
JUNE 16 – For whatever reason, tongue has always been one of those meats I’ve given a wide berth to. But when I was grabbing some tacos with an old friend for lunch and saw tongue on the menu? Welp, I figured it was as good a time as any try. And, whadya know, it was delicious! (It’s the grayish meat on the left.)
#5 Ride the Sardine Peak Trail
AUGUST 12 – Sardine Peak has some sweet views and a descent that I’ve never seen in person (we got close to making the whole loop on a hike one day, but didn’t finish it). So, now that I have a mountain bike, I bagged it.
#6 Hike Ben Lomond
AUG 19 – Ben Lomond has been on the list for years, so Kim and I (with the help of certain grandparents who babysat our offspring) finally put it on the calendar. Just over 3,700 of climbing and 9.85 miles in around 5.5 hours. We may not be as young as we used to be, but we can still crank out the miles!
#7 Paddle Through Red Canyon
AUG 26 – I’ve looked down into Red Canyon dozens of times and dreamed of paddling through in a kayak and seeing my happy place from a new perspective. But at 16 miles, it’s a haul. So I spent a bit of time on the water training this summer, picked a day, and made it happen. One of the most magical experiences of my life.
#8 Eat at Red Canyon Lodge
AUG 26 – I’ve wanted to eat at the restaurant in the lodge for as long as Blanchards have been making the trek (about 30 years). What better time to cross this off the list than celebrating my paddle through Red Canyon. And what better meal than a delicious chicken fried steak.
#9 Go to an RSL Game
AUG 31 – It’d been a few years since we’d made it to a game in person and I wanted to be sure we made it back. Even more, RSL scored two goals in the first half and we were treated to a classic Rio Tinto Stadium sunset to boot (plus the obligatory trip to Crown Burger before kickoff).
#10 Paddle to See the Salmon at Causey
SEP 9 – Every year (well, almost every year) we hike in to see the salmon run at Causey Reservoir. And every year (well, almost every year) we see people paddle kayaks instead of hike and wish we could do the same. Now that we have two kayaks…we did!
#11 Watch a Pro Disc Golf Tournament
SEP 16 – When I noticed that Inntopia’s user group schedule overlapped with the Green Mountain Championship just down the road, I knew it would be a perfect way to chill after a busy week putting on the conference. A crisp Vermont day didn’t hurt either.
#12 Visit a New National Park
OCT 1 – On our fall road trip we actually passed through two new national parks – Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes – but the latter completely caught me off guard with their sheer size. Add in the colors and shape and contrast between the surrounding mountains? Totally amazing.
#13 Go to the Grand Canyon
OCT 6 – We’ve talked about going to the Grand Canyons for a long, long time. So we planned our fall road trip to include both the north and south rims. It was a bit of driving, but absolutely worth it. To see that much of earth’s history opened in front of you? Amazing.
#14 Bike the Skyline Trail
OCT 15 – I’d ridden part before and knew it’d be a fun descent, so Kim was nice enough to drop me off at North Ogden Divide and I spent the next couple hours cruising along the ridge between Ogden City and Ogden Valley. The views were incredible, the leaves were lovely, and the old legs had just enough in the tank to get me back home.
#15 Bike in to Middle Fork
OCT 21 – We’d hiked a mile or so back in to Middle Fork, but with a certain two-wheeled machine at my disposal I tried to get further back into the canyon. Made it about four, rocky miles but had a glorious time. Will definitely try to go further some day.
#16 Top Secret
OCT 22 – I said it was top secret, what are you expecting some hints down here? Sheesh. But since this top secret mission has been completed I figured I should add something. And that something is this paragraph that tells you absolutely nothing about what it is. :)
#17 Get an Ace in Disc Golf
NOV 11 – I’d been trying to get an ace all year, but after a couple near aces at Harrisville Park I realized a short, easy course like this was by best shot. So I repeated the 5th hole – flat, open, 110′ long – on repeat to see if I could make it happen. A half hour later my Star Mamba rattled the chains!
#18 Watch Sunset from North Ogden Divide
NOV 12 – Every time we drive over the divide in the evening we see folks pulled over enjoying the view and sunset. So, when the timing aligned on our way home from Logan we gave it a whirl. It was completely glorious, thanks in part to a tasty round of Wienerschnitzel dogs and burgers we picked up on the way.
#19 Go to Services at a Different Church
NOV 20 – Kim’s mom plays in the bell choir at the First Presbyterian Church in Logan every third Sunday, so we changed up our Sunday routine to see her in action. The service was really nice and it was extremely insightful and refreshing to see worship, spirituality, and prayer from a new perspective.
#20 Run a 5k with Sam
NOV 24 – Sam and I had done a little bit of running over the summer, so when we saw a sign for a Thanksgiving 5k we decided to give it a go. A couple weeks of training later we crossed the finish line with arms raised.
#21 Write a Poem
DEC 17 – I used to write poems but…well…I just haven’t for a while. Keeping this one private for now, though, until the world is ready for my poetic prowess ;)
#22 Build a Zip Line
DEC 29 – This had been on the list for quite a while, so we made it one of the kids’ Christmas gifts to open together. We had a sunny day today and slightly warmer temps, so we rolled up our sleeves, built a little seat, strung the cable, and tweaked until it was working like a champ.
#23 Go to an Aggie Basketball Game
DEC 31 – I have a ton of great memories of evenings in The Spectrum cheering on my Ags. Like some of the other things on my list, it had been a few years and putting this on my list was a good way to make sure it happened.
#24 Ski Every Run at Nordic Valley
JAN 20 – Initially this was going to be every run sometime this season, but where’s the fun in that? Decided to crank ’em all out in a single day. Legs are tired but the weather was amazing and I had a completely glorious time exploring some new terrain.
#25 Make Balaclavas for the Kids
JAN 29 – For a long time (too long) we’ve talked about making a balaclava out of t-shirts for Cal to wear under her helmet when she skis. After rummaging through Kim’s t-shirt collection, we found some nice fabric, pinned, sewed, and even decided to make one for Sam too. Not exactly professional, but not too shabby either!
#26 Visit the Krishna Temple
FEB 4 – I’d seen it a million times, but just never made the trip. So, after attending a funeral in Utah County, we did. It was really interesting to learn about the origins of Hare Krishna and the history of Hinduism. Plus the buffet was super tasty.
#27 Do a 360 on a Snowboard
FEB 10 – Sometimes you’ve gotta prove you’ve still got it and doing a 360 was a perfect example. I saw the jump that would set up well, waited for it to clear, and nailed it on my first try. All I really have as visual proof is this photo looking back up the hill, but Cal and Sam were witnesses and even confirmed I got off the ground…barely. :)
#28 Get a DNA Test
FEB 14 – I’d both wanted and probably needed to get a DNA test for a while and, like a few other things on this list, used this year as the moment to make it happen. Glad I did.
#29 Do a Kids-Focused Vacation
MAR 2 – We’re lucky that our kids love to do similar things to us, but I’ve also realized more that they have their own things they love that I’m not as into and I needed to do a better job of doing big things to support that. They’d been begging to go to Legoland for a looong time so…we did.
#30 Make Something from the GBB
MAR 10 – I’ve been watching (and loving) the Great British Baking Show for years now. I figured it was time to try to actually do what they do. So with Kim’s birthday approaching, I decided that croissants would once again be a good choice for breakfast, I just figured the homemade variety was worth a shot. Kinda tricky, kinda stressful, but worked out great!
#31 Help Callie Enter the Birdhouse Contest
MAR 11 – We’ve known about the Ogden Nature Center’s Birdhouse Contest for a while now and always talked about entering, but when Callie came up with a great surf board themed design we worked together to make it happen. A little paint and this thing is going to look amazing!
#32 Ski in a New State
MAR 17 – Wyoming may be the closest state to us, but I’d never skied there. Finally made it happen with a fun weekend trip to White Pine Ski Area with the family for a belated birthday thing for Kim (we tried to do it on her birthday but the weather didn’t cooperate).
#33 Jump off the Roof on My Snowboard
MAR 27 – I’d wanted to do this since I was a teenager, but it took a late season storm for me to finally feel like both the setup and my age/abilities were aligning. First try I didn’t quite stick it, but got it on the second go.
#34 Go to Lunch with Heather
MAY 23 – Heather had a few quiet days before the school year ended and I had a bit of flexibility with work, so I grabbed some grub en route and made it happen. Super fun to have her to myself and catch up on life, work, kids, and everything in between.
#35 Go to an Ogden Raptors Game
MAY 26 – Another classic “we’d talked about doing this a dozen times” things on the list, we finally just did it. Got lucky when some blustery weather blew through and left a cool but clear evening for baseball in it’s wake. Only downside? The Raptors played like poop and got smoked by the Grand Junction Jackalopes.
#36 Sleep Overnight in a Hammock
MAY 27 – Sleeping in a hammock is something I’d tried as a kid at a sleepover (and had a horrible night), but enough people do so these days I figured it was worth another shot. I was surprisingly comfy, but my side-sleeping ways made it hard to doze too deeply on my back. Overall, though, significantly better than the last time.
#37 Go Backpacking with Cal
MAY 30 – Cal has been really into survival and camping books lately so I promised we’d do a quick backpacking trip as part of my list. We hiked about 1.4 miles back into Middle Fork, had a tasty dinner of sandwiches and stew by the stream, read a dozen chapters of The River, made a debris hut, and had a completely delightful time.
#38 Play a New Golf Course with my Dad
JUN 1 – We drive by El Monte almost weekly. So instead of gifts this year, I asked my parents to just hang out: a round of golf at El Monte with the padre followed by lunch with my mom. The weather was absolutely perfect, the course was surprisingly fun, and I didn’t play too bad!
#39 Schedule a Physical
JUN 2 – I haven’t gotten a well check in way too long and now seemed like a good time to make sure the ol’ ticker (and everything else) is working the way it should. I didn’t quite get this one done by my birthday, but I did get it scheduled.
#40 Start a New (Small) Side Project
JUN 2 – I’m super proud of SendView, but I also want to think of creating a successful side hustle as a skill rather than a destination. So I started this simple little site that leaned into some new skills I’ve learned to create something from scratch.
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