Pioneer Day

For the holiday weekend, we made the trek down to Cedar City to visit my parents. For Dave's birthday, he got both a Utah road atlas and a GPS for the car, so we used both to plan another adventure on our way down. Instead of taking the tried and true (boring) route straight down I-15, we took a detour through Ephraim so that Dave could get some photos of the movie theater there (I'm sure he'll post them soon). After he shot his photos, we stopped in Manti to see the temple. I grew up in the Manti temple district, but hadn't been back since high school. Plus, Eddie thinks temples are great… and a temple that looks like a castle is even better!

We parked at the bottom of the hill to get the full view, slathered the kids with sunscreen, and hiked up to the temple. Dave is in decent shape since he's been biking to and from work this summer, but I have been pretty sedentary. And I was carrying Violet. So by the time we reached the top of that hill, I was in desperate need of a rest. Violet and I found a shady spot under a tree while Dave and Eddie climbed up the stairs in back of the temple. There, Eddie knocked on the back door and, as he told me later, "made himself at home."

While we waited for the boys, Violet drew all sorts of compliments from the ladies going in and out of the temple. She was looking pretty cute in her hat, so I can't blame them.

After leaving Manti, our GPS (nicknamed Jarvis) took us through the middle of nowhere en route to Cedar. I think we even went through a place called "Spearmint." But Jarvis didn't lead us astray and we arrived exactly on schedule. Eddie spent the rest of the weekend playing in the pool and outside. Dave and I got to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We saw a parade and Eddie got tons of candy. Violet spent the rest of the weekend poo-sploding and having her nose wiped since she got sick.


A New Hero in Town

It all started with our trip to the cabin last month. A large, silver Iron Man figure had made its way into the selection of cabin toys, and Eddie carried it around for most of the weekend. He pressed the chest button nonstop, endlessly repeating the sound bytes, "I am Iron Man!" and "Repulsor blast!"

Then, a few weeks ago, we found a Toys "R" Us coupon that was about to expire. So we stopped in to let Eddie pick out a toy of his choice. After handing him pretty much every toy in the store and having him say, "Yeah, that one!" we eventually narrowed it down to a Batman utility belt with a light-up buckle, or an Iron Man action figure.

In what must have been the toughest decision of his life, Eddie chose Iron Man. Somewhere amid the dark streets and rooftops, I thought I heard a single tear dropping.

As a side note, our Toys "R" Us cashier was someone I recognized from my days playing in the USU band. As he asked me if I would like to sign up for a Rewards "R" Us card, or if I needed any batteries, I immediately felt pretty good about my modest accomplishments in life.

I have since shown Eddie a few excerpts of the movies so he could see Iron Man in action. I also dug out the comic book that came with the DVD so he could look though it. He was so into the comic that he wanted to take it in the bath. When I wouldn't let him, he wanted it to be on the floor next to the tub so he could see it while bathing. Ah, the whims of childhood.


Burger City, USA

Previously: We Heart More Burgers

While my lists of sandwich and pizza joints have started to dwindle, my burger list seems to grow exponentially. I swear a new burger joint opens up weekly around here. Utahns definitely love their burgers. In fact, we love them so much that Travel + Leisure recently ranked Salt Lake City as the #2 burger city in the nation.


1481 West 12600 South, Riverton

Bombdiggity's sells "beefalo" burgers, which you can probably surmise comes from a hybrid of cows and buffalo. The benefit of using beefalo rather than regular beef is lower fat, calories, and cholesterol content. But the taste is also different than your typical burger. One reviewer described it as tasting like chopped steak, which I'd say is a fairly accurate assessment. These burgers are definitely unique, and it's reassuring to know they are better for you. But some days only a classic burger will do, calories be darned.

Buster Burger
1078 W South Jordan Pkwy, South Jordan

From the Buster Burger website, "We started eating burgers in late 2009. We tried every burger along the Wasatch Front. All along, we were working on our own burgers." This composite approach is immediately evident as different aspects of the BB experience reminded me of various burger joints I have been to. In particular, the menu reminded me of In-N-Out crossed with 5 Guys. Bread lovers should take notice of the fresh baked bun from Dunford Bakery. And one more thing—they have a different special for every day of the week, the highlight being "Free Fry Friday."

Millie's Burgers
2092 S 1000 E, Salt Lake City

Kristen and I lived a few miles south of Millie's for nearly two years and never ate there, save one trip for milkshakes. But back in those days when we went out for burgers, we pretty much never made it further north than the Training Table (not that there's anything wrong with that). After finally checking Millie's out recently, all I really have to say is there are no gimmicks or frills to be found here (unless you count the colorful Sugar House crowd)—just straight up, classic drive-in food.

1180 S 500 W, Bountiful
344 N Main St, Layton
1090 W 300 N, Clearfield

Pace's is a staple of Davis County. Having grown up there, I'm fairly certain there is a secret county ordinance mandating that Astro Bars be provided at every school, church, or community function taking place within county borders. So next time while you're stopping in to pick up a case of 400 Astro Bars for a seminary graduation party, you certainly could do worse than grabbing a made-to-order cheeseburger and a rainbow (a scoop of soft serve doused with fruity slush).

Salt City Burger Co.
9176 S Village Shop Drive, Sandy
401 W 500 S, Bountiful

I'm normally not a big fan of places with a condiment and topping bar where you have to dress your own burger (I'd rather not know how much mayo ends up slathered on there). But in the case of Salt City Burger, I'm going to make a delicious exception. The upscale atmosphere and tender, juicy beef recalls Smashburger. And they also offer a fresh take on the bacon cheeseburger—the bacon is ground right into the patty.



Before Violet was born, we rearranged the house to make space for her upstairs. That meant rearranging the living room, which meant rethinking our wall decor once again. We had this collage frame hanging on the kitchen wall for a while:

In a rare moment of brilliance, I thought it could be interesting to get another collage frame and cut the circles apart, hanging them around the larger frame, creating a sort of "floating bubble" effect. It took several months to follow through on the idea, but the final effect is pretty sweet.

And since we moved the original frame from the kitchen to the living room, now we need to think of a brilliant idea for the kitchen walls. I think that decorating our house is a perpetual project.


Alpine Loop

On Monday morning Kristen and I were pondering how we should spend our holiday, so I pulled out the new Utah road atlas I got for my birthday. The very first entry in the "family outing" section was the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Soon we had packed up the car and were on our way to Utah County (not a phrase I type very often).

Before we could drive the loop we stopped at Canyon Glen Park in Provo Canyon for a picnic. Kristen and I enjoyed some tasty sandwiches from The Italian Place in Orem, Violet scarfed her sweet potatoes, and Eddie found eating to be a burden.

Special thanks to Kristen for manning the camera here so I could actually appear in a photo with both of the kids.

The park's drinking fountain didn't instill a lot of confidence.

After a quick stop at Bridal Veil Falls, we took Highway 92 through the Wasatch Range, passing Sundance Resort and Timpanogos Cave National Monument along the way.

While Violet was having "tea time" in the car with Kristen, Eddie and I went for a short hike. As I snapped photos of him from behind, he chastised me, "You keep walking, Daddy!"