On Sunday, we ventured to the great backwoods metropolis of Delta for our niece Riley's baby blessing. Neither of us had ever been to Delta before, so there was much for us to see and experience (cough). In any case, this snowy journey was certainly deserving of a black & white photo travelogue.

Somewhere between Nephi and Delta on Highway 132, we spotted these odd looking stone igloos. Upon further inspection, we learned that they are charcoal ovens from the late 1800s. To quote from their Information plaque, "the sounds of history are silently heard in our minds as we go back to once upon a time." So very profound.

Further on down the highway, just past the charcoal ovens, is the town of Leamington (we had never heard of it either). If I had to guess, I'd say there are approximately 12 people that live there. Their old timey Phillips 66 is sure cool though.

Every town, no matter how small, needs a post office...um...no matter how small. And no need to worry, the United States Postal Service is "available" at this post office.

Welcome to Delta, skydivers NOT welcome.

One would think it would be the acme of foolishness for Rico to have his taco van open for business at 9:30 on Sunday morning in Delta, but two cars stopped for an early morning taco fix while we were parked across the street waiting to take a photo. Also be sure to note the cleverly titled salon "Delta Hairlines" next door.

The rec center next to the church where we had lunch after the blessing. As we learned from Kristen's dad, the correct term for this style of building is a "Quonset Hut." Good to know.

Riley, the guest of honor. I'd say she was worth the trip.


Easter 2008

After a long two hour drive, which included a few rounds of "Spot the Deer Carcass," we arrived at Kristen's Grandma’s house in the perennially sepia-toned canyon just outside of Huntington. Having neglected to make any stops along the way, Kristen had to rush to the bathroom immediately upon arrival. We enjoyed a lazy Saturday afternoon of good food, socializing, egg hunting, and a walk around the farm. Kristen got to have her third baby shower (of five) where Smidgen received his first pair of shoes. I spent my time doing manly things like shooting clay pigeons with the other manly men before we drove home.

Sunday night we went to my sister Cheryl's house in Draper. We had a great dinner, then hid eggs in the backyard for the nephews to gather up.

Josh on the hunt. I suppose the obvious joke would be that he is getting into the swing of things.

Neil pausing from all the excitement to take a little breather.

After the eggs were all gathered up, the nephews obliged us by some posing for photographs.

And after we got the "serious" photos out of the way, the nephews were more than happy to get in some goofy poses too.

Easter Past & Present
Here is a photo that was taken Easter 2004 (just before we were married) that we keep prominently displayed in our living room to show off how young and thin we once were. Okay, the photo probably just makes people realize how young and thin we no longer are. We had my sister take a similar photo of us this Easter for a side-by-side comparison. As you can see, our family is not only growing in numbers, but also in girth.

An Easter Miracle
After not bothering to even expend the effort to swim to the top of the tank for food for his first 4 days with us, our fish Ulysses Everett McGill suddenly became much more active, started eating, and grew 50% bigger. Clearly this is an Easter miracle! Special thanks to Petco and their return policy for making this miracle a reality.



Whenever I get together with my friends, they always ask me if Salt City is ever going to come out with a line of candles specifically for men, which would feature such manly fragrances as "Pork Chop" and "Motor Oil." Well Salt City still hasn't taken the initiative, but someone out there has...


Restaurant Style Mac & Cheese

Recently I did some searching online for a recipe that would help keep us from venturing to Noodles & Company for their Wisconsin Mac & Cheese quite as much. I found this one on allrecipes.com that we have made quite a bit, with a few adjustments. It is almost as easy to make as boxed mac, and it tastes infinitely better. And wouldn't you know it, we haven't been to Noodles & Company since.

• 2 cups macaroni noodles
• 2/3 cup sharp cheddar, grated
• 4 oz. Velveeta, grated or cut into small pieces
• 2 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp milk

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Add cheddar, velveeta, butter, and milk. Stir until cheese is melted, and pasta is evenly coated. Makes 3-4 servings. Top with fresh parmesan if you have it on hand.


Aquatic Additions

Ulysses Everett McGill

"Say, any a you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?"

We decided to try and find a fish with stripes to match Everett's prison garb, and this Tiger Barb fit the bill nicely.

Garth Algar

"I like to play."

We couldn't stop chuckling just watching this spotted Balloon Molly warble around the tank at the store, and we knew we had found our perfect Garth. Plus, in her current state, Kristen seems to relate well to him.


The Name Game II: Something Fishy

One-Eyed Willy. Admiral Ackbar. Egon Spengler. Buford "Mad Dog" Tannon. What do these names have in common? Why these were the names of the fish we had last year of course! Since the weather is warming up, Kristen and I are starting to think about getting some new fish. We came up with a list of potential names and realized this would be perfect for our latest poll. We may be getting two, so the top two vote getters both have the chance to get used. And we have yet to decide what to get, so the winning names could help "inform" the style of fish we choose. As always, don't forget to leave a comment explaining your choice.

1. Garth Algar - Wayne Campbell's lovable sidekick featured in SNL's Wayne's World skits and movies. Although Wayne is the namesake, one could argue that Garth's antics often provided the highlights.

"If you're gonna spew, spew into this."

2. General Boo-Regard - Many of us have fond memories of the cartoon Animaniacs. The show featured a plethora of absurd side characters, including Chicken Boo. The General Boo-Regard episode still cracks us up for some reason.

"You wear a disguise to look like human guys, but you't not a man, you're a chicken boo."

3. Mola Ram - The leader of the dreaded Thuggee Cult, and nemesis of Indiana Jones and co. in Temple of Doom. Among his many talents is the ability to pull a man's still beating heart out of his chest and make it spontaneously combust.

"Drop them, Dr. Jones! They will be found! You won't!"

4. Otto Octavius - Octavius was a respected scientist until (what else?) a freak accident fused mechanical arms to his body, and turned him into the monstrous Dr. Octopus, a formidable opponent for Spider-Man. Well, at least when Spidey isn't pining for Mary Jane.

"The power of the sun... in the palm of my hand!"

5. Tad Ghostal - The true identity of the superhero Space Ghost, who starred in the short-lived cartoon Space Ghost and Dino Boy in the 60's. Tad eventually went on to achieve even greater fame as the host of his very own talk show in the 90's.

"I'll spank you smartly with my spank ray!"

6. Ulysses Everett McGill - Ever the Dapper Dan man, this fast talking escaped convict is also a paterfamilias, although we are unsure if he is bona fide.

"As soon as we get ourselves cleaned up and get a little smellum in our hair, why, we're gonna feel 100% better about ourselves, and about life in general."


Preview of Coming Attractions

May is inching ever closer, which means one thing: the start of the summer blockbuster season. Here are my top three most anticipated "blockbusters" of 2008:

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Release Date: May 22nd
View the trailer

The Skinny: Harrison Ford might be 65 years old, but the thought of seeing him suit up in the leather jacket and fedora one last time as the Raiders March blazes still gets the blood pumping. I have high hopes that Spielberg and Lucas have somehow managed to channel their 1981 selves.

2. The Dark Knight
Release Date: July 18th
View the trailer

The Skinny: I can't wait to see how Christian Bale and co. raise the stakes after Batman Begins, which was unquestionably the best Batman to date. And I have heard nothing but good things about Heath Ledger's take on the Joker, which unfortunately turned out to be his final performance.

1. Title Yet To Be Announced
Release Date: May 14th (Estimated)
Trailer currently unavailable

The Skinny: Ok, maybe "the skinny" isn't the most appropriate term for this one, as Kristen would attest. But this is definitely the most anticipated "event" of the summer for us, and I have a feeling it might be cutting into the previous two movies' repeat business potential.


A Real Ode

Not to steal Dave's thunder from his Ode to Muddy Buddies... but today as I pondered the soon-to-be empty Tums container at our house, I decided that I should create a tribute to one of my favorite products of all time. As you will see, I had a lot of time on my hands today, but it allowed me to give my brain a much needed workout. Please note that this ode is written in iambic pentameter (nerd alert!) and even rhymes (sort of). So, without further ado, here is my Ode to Tums Smooth Dissolve:

O! The wonder of Tums Smooth Dissolve!
Always fruity, delightfully good,
you soothe my burning as you absolve
me from my misery. I have withstood
the spicy (and the not-so-spicy) fare
that Dave creates each day for me
because of your magical properties.
You bring me comfort, uncommon and rare,
as you lull my esophagus to sleep.
I’ll prize you e’er for putting me at ease!


An Ode to Muddy Buddies

Kristen and I go through Muddy Buddy cycles. We will make 2 or 3 batches in a week, then force ourselves to stop for fear that our pants will no longer fit. So then we go about 6 months or so before some little trigger sets the addiction off again. This time, Kristen had cut out some coupons, one of which was to get a dollar off on any two flavors of Chex cereal. So there we were in the grocery store trying to decide which two kinds of Chex to get. One thing lead to another, and soon enough, there is a batch of Muddy Buddies cooling on a sheet of waxed paper in the kitchen.

Who ever thought such a simple combination of ingredients could produce something so addicting? Rice Chex, chocolate chips, peanut butter, powdered sugar. Remember the Joker's Smilex Gas in Batman? It only proved lethal when a few specific chemicals were mixed. So too it is with the addictive qualities of Muddy Buddies. And to carry the analogy one step further, the effect of the Joker's gas was a perma-smile for the victim, not unlike the smile you will have as you are enjoying your Muddy Buddies.

The smile only goes away when you realize you have consumed an entire batch in a few short hours, and you are fishing around in the remaining powdered sugar for crumbs.

If there is anyone out there who has never experienced the wonders of Muddy Buddies, here is the recipe. Don't say I never did anything for you.

• 9 cups Rice Chex cereal
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup peanut butter
• 1/4 cup butter or margarine
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Measure cereal into large bowl; set aside. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on high 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container (not like you really need to worry about it being around long enough to go stale).


A Very Star Wars Birthday: Prequel Edition

As promised, here is the second half of the Star Wars birthday quotes.

Obi Wan: Master Yoda said I should be mindful of my birthday.
Qui Gon: But not at the expense of the presents.

Nute Gunray: As you know, our birthday party is perfectly legal.

Yoda: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to no presents.

Boss Nass: Yousa thinkin yousa havina happy birthdaysin? Mesa like dis. Maybe wesa start...bein friends (bubberbubberbubberbubber).

Young Obi Wan: The council has granted me permission to train you. You will have a happy birthday, I promise.

Jango Fett: I'm just a simple man trying to wish you a happy birthday.

Anakin: I wish that I could wish you a happy birthday, but I'm haunted by the birthday present that you never gave me.

Mace Windu: This party's over.


Yoda: Have a happy birthday you will, if anything to say about it I have.

Bail Organa: Have the protocol droid's memory wiped...and return all his birthday presents for store credit.
C3PO: Oh no!

Emperor: It seems you didn't get any presents this year.
Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOO!