Easter 2011

In celebration of the first bunny to lay colored eggs then hide them, we once again journeyed to Kristen's grandma's house in Huntington Canyon on Saturday. We ate some eggs-quisite barbecue, tried to egg-nore the resident family eggs-perts of everything, and thought up a bunch of egg puns to pepper throughout this post.

When the Easter egg hunt rolled around after lunch, Kristen's mom informed us that the total egg count was in egg-cess of 100. Thus the three kids who were of hunting age, Eddie included, came away with quite a haul.

As these egg-tivities were winding down, I started wandering around the farm to scratch my creative itch. I eventually found this apricot tree and old pickup truck.

Back at home on Sunday morning, Violet got her first bit of Disney princess merchandise in her Easter basket. Unfortunately, we didn't notice until then that Ariel is being a bit of an eggs-hibitionist—not behavior we want our daughter emulating. Well, either that or the toymakers really weren't thinking when they placed the ball's pump hole where they did...


The Art of Sports Journalism

CITY (AP)—With the crowd at their backs, the [home team] came blazing out of the gates like a well-oiled machine firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, the [visiting team], looked like they left their 'A' game back in [the city they are from] whilst wandering behind the woodshed for a [final score] whooping.

[Star home player] illuminated the [home team's] winning strategy, "When the [visiting team] looked a little out of synch early, we smelled blood and went for the jugular. We knew we couldn't afford to get lackadaisical, so we just tried to keep on our toes in the bag.

"It was all over but the shouting after [a specific duration of gameplay]," continued [secondary home player], "so we decided to put on a clinic, 'How to Seal Victories.' After all, our fans aren't paying their hard earned money to watch us take a cakewalk in the park."

So what went wrong for the [visiting team]? [Visiting head coach] broke down his team's subpar effort, "I think it's clear that we've gone to the well once too often. We've circled our wagons around [star visiting player] all season, and him having an off night really took the wind out of our sails."

[Secondary visiting player] also lamented, "Instead of playing to win, we played not to lose. But give the [home team] credit. They got us on the ropes and blew the game wide open with a coffin-nailing knock out punch."


Salty Saturday

After lunch at home on Saturday, Kristen and I started pondering how we should spend our afternoon. I expressed my desire to resume my movie theater photo series, and soon we were plotting a spontaneous road trip to Tooele. 45 minutes later, we were cruising Main in the little mining town. Kristen and the kids had fun playing at a local park while I photographed the Ritz Theatre (post coming soon).

As we took Highway 201 out past the Great Salt Lake, Kristen was quite flummoxed by its size. She sheepishly revealed that even though she has lived her whole life in Utah, this was the closest she had ever been to the lake. I determined a stop off at Saltair was in order on our return trip.

Eddie also responded enthusiastically in the affirmative when I asked if he wanted to see a castle. He was quite disappointed we couldn't go inside since the building is still closed for the season. And when we told him we needed to get back in the car so we could find something to eat, he insisted dinner was being served inside the castle.

We deliberated about what to eat along I-80 all the way into downtown Salt Lake before finally settled on Moochie's—a delicious end to the impromptu trip. All in all, it was a fun way to spend our Saturday, and we can't wait to take similar road trips throughout the spring and summer.


Blessing Day

When selecting a blessing date, Kristen and I determined that the longer we waited, the more likely we would have decent weather so we could host an event outside. Of course the schizophrenic April weather had other plans, so we resigned ourselves to cramming 40 of our closest friends and family into our 1400 sq. foot townhome.

Siblings share a quiet moment before church.

…and the moment is passed.

The biggest hitch of the day was realizing my zipper was actually down during the blessing. Hopefully my suit coat (which only comes out of my closet every few years for these sorts of occasions), performed its primary function of keeping me decent.

Other than this XYZ incident, it ended up being a lovely (if somewhat hectic) day. Thankfully the sun made periodic appearances throughout the afternoon, so we were able to unleash some of the kids out into the courtyard. Our house was still jam-packed, and the spread of food was largely decimated. At the end of the day, pretty much only a few olives from the deli tray remained, which Eddie knew just what to do with.


Andrews Family Vacation Memories, Pt. 2

Here's the second installment in my family vacation memories. I didn't have access to my trip photos this time, so I had to improvise.


When Jeremy got home from his mission in Japan, he and I went with our parents to see his mission (and other parts of the country). We were there for about two weeks, starting in Okinawa and working our way north to Tokyo. Jeremy's last area on his mission was on Okinawa, so he had only been away for a few months and knew some of the people there. We spent one day riding around with the Stake President, who took us to see various sites. One of the places he took us was to the Okinawa Peace Park, which is a World War II memorial set on the cliffs. It included a series of marble walls (similar to the Vietnam Memorial) with names of the soldiers inscribed on them. The Stake President found his father's name on the walls to show us.

Later on, we also traveled to Hiroshima and saw the Atomic Bomb Dome. This is one of the few structures to have survived the bombing, even though it was almost directly beneath the detonation. The building has been preserved and is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. We also traveled to Nagasaki and visited the Peace Memorial Park there. This park was interesting because it included monuments donated by other countries. It was a beautiful place that I don't think I'll ever forget it.

For this trip, my brother Jason was serving his mission in Taiwan. We happened to be there on Mother's Day when we should have been able to call him. We had gone out early in the day to do some shopping, and my dad bought a samurai sword. Then we went to the train station to take the train back to our hotel so that we could call Jason. Unfortunately, only Jeremy could speak Japanese, and even he could not read Japanese. We ended up on the wrong train—the express to the airport. By the time we figured out our mistake, we were stuck sitting on the floor in the doorway of the train car (because there were no open seats), forced to take the entire ride.

Once we got to the airport, we had to go through security just to get to the opposite train platform. Obviously this was going to be a problem since we were carrying a samurai sword with us. Jeremy explained the situation to the security guards and we were able to get an armed escort through the airport to the other side of the train platform. My mom got to call Jason at an airport pay phone, but only got to talk to him for a short time. We then got back on the train (not the express this time), and spent the next couple of hours riding back to where we started.


Both of my brothers were on missions when my parents and I went to Mexico. We stayed in Cancun at an all-inclusive resort, meaning that we had already paid to eat dinner at the resort when we paid for our room. This had its pros and cons. Normally, this wasn't really an issue. We just went down to buffet and ate. But one night, the dinner included a show, so we were forced to go to the show in order to eat our dinner. The show was mildly entertaining, including a tequila drinking contest and some dancing. At one point in the show, the performers got people from the audience to join them on stage to do the Mexican Hat Dance. Lucky for me, being in the front row, I was selected to go up and dance with a little Mexican dude who looked like an extra from Three Amigos.

Also during our stay in Mexico, we took the ferry to Cozumel Island to do some snorkeling. We got off the ferry and straight onto another boat that would take us snorkeling on the reef. Unfortunately, we were somewhat unprepared. Because normal sunscreen damages the coral, you're not supposed to wear it in the water. We didn't have any biodegradable sunscreen, so we just went without. Well, not only did I inherit my mom's motion sickness, but my dad's fair skin as well. We both got sunburned ridiculously bad. Then when we got off the boat, we couldn't find any place to rinse off. We went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch and I went into the bathroom and basically bathed myself in the sink to get the salt off of my sunburn so I could stand to put my shirt on.


Eddie's Mac and Cheese Ratings

Like most two (almost three) year olds I know, Eddie is a very picky eater. Thankfully, there are a few staple foods such as mac and cheese that he will consistently eat. Still, he won't settle for just any "cheesy noodles." He abandoned boxed stuff half a lifetime ago. And blindly ordering mac and cheese off a kid's menu when we eat out is a gamble because (a) it is way overpriced for what it is, and (b) he expects the noodles to be a certain shape, and the cheese to be the proper shade of yellow (demands that we, as parents, do a poor job of notifying restaurants of beforehand). So here you have it, some of the best and worst places to get mac and cheese according to Eddie:

Noodles & Company
If Eddie hasn't eaten a decent meal for a few days, we can always take him here and get him a large portion of the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese to make up for the lost calories. He will also hork down multiple bowlfuls of our homemade mac and cheese recipe that emulates Noodles & Company.

Eddie's Rating: 4 out of 4 Elbows

Windy Ridge Cafe
The portion may have been modest, but this Park City establishment scored extra points for presentation by serving it up in a miniature saucepan. Once Eddie had scooped up every last noodle, he then licked the cheese residue on his spoon for several minutes afterwards.

Eddie's Rating: 3 out of 4 Elbows

Olive Garden
The popular chain forgoes traditional elbow macaroni noodle for mini shells, which Eddie instantly rebuffed. I was, however, able to convince him to eat the leftovers when I told him the noodles were actually sea shells.

Eddie's Rating: 2 out of 4 Elbows

Iggy's Sports Grill
They may have gotten the noodle shape and cheese color right, but then Iggy's had to go and serve it in loaf form, thus making it unfit for toddler consumption. I can only surmise that a cheesy noodle loaf haunted Eddie's dreams for days, because he wouldn't touch the leftovers even after the loaf was leveled.

Eddie's Rating: 0 out of 4 Elbows