five days in utah, part I

My Grandpa Henderson passed away last Monday, so I headed out west early Friday morning.

Good-bye DC!

Since I bought my plane ticket at the last minute, I had two layovers on the way out. Fortunately I had a great book (How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit) and a bag of trail mix to keep me occupied.

I made it into SLC around 3:30 pm and my mom picked me up from the airport. We hit The Red Iguana–the first of many must-hit Utah restaurants–for lunch, where the mole is as good as it is in Puebla. Then we stopped in at my Grandma and Grandpa Pullan’s house. Eventually we picked up Mariel from the airport (she had taken the shuttle down from Rexburg). The three of us dropped in on Jake and Justine so Mom and Mio could meet Kallie, and we FaceTimed with Jason before going down to Payson.

The boys were out and about when we got home, but I finally convinced them to play Scrabble with me (at 11 pm Utah time). Turns out my Scrabble skills drop off precipitously after bedtime. I was the only participant not to hit 100 points, and my mom emerged victorious.

Hands like this may have contributed to my epic loss.

On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (a benefit of being on eastern time) and went for a run. It was an incredible run for several reasons: 1. I saw the sunrise over the mountains. 2. I saw several horses close up for the first time since we went to NYC (and I am sure these horses were much happier). 3. I got a great view of the spire of the Payson temple.

After a bowl of Life cereal (#vacation) and a shower, Mom, Mariel and I went to Spanish Fork to watch Adam and Grant play tennis. 

We usually play when I come to visit, but this was the first time I have seen them play an actual high school match. I thought for sure I wouldn’t have to opportunity to do so before Adam graduated, so I am glad this worked out! They are basically incredible and so fun to watch. What would it have been like to win matches??

The boys stuck around at the courts while we ladies went to Provo to get Mariel some new pants. She’s a good shopper, so we finished early enough to swing by the BYU Bookstore (I refused to call it The Store. It will always be the bookstore to me.), where I stocked up on chocolate-covered cinnamon bears and picked out a t-shirt for Jason.

We met up with Hannah for lunch at Zupa’s, then headed home for the afternoon. The boys and I were going to play tennis, but it started to rain so we went for another run instead. I had wanted to run to Elk Ridge on Goosenest, but we thought the lack of sidewalks made the route inadvisable. Instead, we ran the Canal Road. I haven’t been on the Canal Road since we used to take Sunday drives there (probably not kosher anymore?) and had forgotten how beautiful it is. From the road, you can look across the whole valley, the patchwork of fields and orchards and tiny houses, with Utah Lake just beyond. It was such a fun run.

That night we went to Sam Hawk for dinner and drove past the Payson Temple on the way home.

On Sunday Mariel and I went to church in the Page Ward with the fam, where we got to hear Grant bless the sacrament for the first time. I can’t believe my brothers are so old. That afternoon we made guacamole and Adam favored us with his Velveeta-cream of mushroom soup-salsa queso of champions. We had shwarma for dinner, then took some German chocolate bars over to Grandpa Henderson’s. That night, we played Backwords, which is one of the more hilarious iPhone games I have ever played.

in which my parents come see us

I am lucky that every so often my dad has a work-related reason to come to Virginia. This time, he brought along my mom. We had a great time (as we always do).

Wednesday
I met my mom at the metro and we commuted home together. We picked up Jason and the three of us went to Lebanese Taverna–by way of Paul, of course, for pastries. Also, we discovered that Wednesday is bellydancing night at Lebanese Taverna, so there’s that.

Thursday
Jason and I went to work. My mom met up with my aunts and a cousin and Alex for lunch. Work was uneventful, except for when Emily and I found what appeared to be branded fanny packs. Turns out they are lunch boxes.

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Thursday night we ate pizza and watched the Kentucky-WVU game. My mom and I picked up my dad from the airport sometime around midnight.

Friday
Jason and Dad went to work. Mom and I slept in, worked out, lounged, and decided to go to Cava for lunch. Then we went to Old Town Alexandra ostensibly in search of a bookstore. We got ice cream instead.

I love being with my mom. She’s great.

We spent the evening with Sara, who very kindly fed us dinner and let us hang out talking until way too late.

Saturday
As I’ve mentioned, my parents are tougher visitors than most because they have already done everything here. We decided to go to Annapolis, which they hadn’t visited since the late 1980s. Like the last time Jason and I went to Annapolis two years ago, it was cold and a little breezy, but we had a good time.

Seriously, Annapolis is so pretty.

We had seafood for lunch (as one must do when visiting a waterfront town) then headed home. My parents and I started a game of Scrabble and Jason napped (since, as the driver, he had been unable to sleep on the way home). Eventually Mom and I went to the women’ broadcast; the men stayed home and made guacamole and watched basketball. When we got home Kentucky was in a dead heat with Notre Dame. We were relieved (though Jason never lost his faith) when UK pulled out the win.

Sunday
Jason had some meetings early. We went to church together and my parents got to meet my Sunday school class. I only had seven of thirteen kids in attendance thanks to spring break, but they still made short work of the two bags of candy and fifteen peeps I brought them. After church we made chilaquiles and finished off the Scrabble game. My mom killed us all, though both she and my dad had 48-point turns.

Monday
Dad, Jason and I went to work. My mom went to the Building Museum with Aunt Amy and my cousins and their kids. She met up with me at the end of the day and we commuted home together (as much as I love reading, I far prefer having someone I love to talk to). We had dinner at Founding Farmers, which was excellent. Jason got the weirdest meal out of all of us: fried chicken and a Jefferson donut (which is kind of like a cronut, I think?). It looked so good that the rest of us had to try our own Jefferson donut too.

Tuesday
Mom and I went to Paul for lunch before her flight. I hated saying goodbye. That is all I will say about that. Dad had some things to do in the evening, so Jason and I spent a quiet night at home.

Wednesday
Because this is my second of three four-day weeks, I had a really hard time keeping my days straight. Those of us who remained in DC went to work and we had north African meatballs and couscous with golden raisins for dinner. I think this was the day I brought contacts to work, intending to run outside. When I got into the office and had cell reception again, I had several texts from Jason: “You took my contacts.” “Don’t put those on.” “Yours are still at home.”

Thursday
Once again, we all worked. I got out a little early in anticipation of the long Easter weekend, so I came home and did the dishes and read. When Jason got home, I headed to the library to pick up a raft of holds, then picked up my dad from the metro. We went to Silver Diner for supper, which is so good. I had roasted vegetable huevos rancheros with roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash, black beans, avocado, goat cheese, guacamole (and beets, which I promptly removed) and I keep really wanting to eat it again. We also had chocolate chip cookies when we got home.

(Good) Friday
Jason went to work. I ran a couples miles outside, my first outdoor run of 2015, I think. (It has been very cold.)  y dad and I went to the mall and picked up some fun things for the fam. He also bought me the Barnes and Noble-published Hamlet, which is my preferred Shakespeare layout (the notes are really easy to read without breaking up the action). We had lunch at La Sandia and then hung out at Rosslyn talking until it was time for my dad to leave for the airport. See my Tuesday note about goodbyes. I really wish my family lived closer to Virginia.

I’m so glad we were able to spend the week with my parents. They’re as busy as anyone I know, so it’s good of them to make time for a visit. Now that Adam’s mission papers are in (!!!) we’ll have to start planning our next trip west.

frost-holbein beach trip III

This is not what you want to see two days before heading to the beach.20140616-121806-44286821.jpg

We’ve had this weekend on the books for some time, so there was no going back. Jason and I were to leave Thursday night, arriving in Durham around 10 p.m. Unfortunately Thursday was rainy, which meant all the commuters forgot how to drive. My homeward-bound commute took almost two hours, after which Jason and I had dinner, packed up our stuff, and tried to be positive about the rainy deluge we were sure awaited at Topsail Island. We finally hit the road around 9 p.m.

Of course, we hit unexpected traffic about an hour into our trip in the middle of rural Virginia at Mudd Tavern Road. This set us back about an hour. Jason drove the whole way and was very alert. We did finally stop at 1:15 a.m. at a McDonalds along the way (in Butner, I believe) for some sustenance. There is no aspect of stopping at McDonalds in the middle of the night that doesn’t make me feel like a college student.

We rolled into the Holbein’s apartment complex solidly at 2 a.m. They had very kindly stayed up to let us in, and then we all crashed. Jason and I slept embarrassingly late the following morning, but check-in at our beach hotel wasn’t until 3 p.m., so we had no illusions about an early start. We had lunch at Mellow Mushroom (so many memories of Lexington lunches with Mary! A slice and salad, no olives, house dressing.), then embarked on the 2ish hour drive to the beach.

Oh, and we saw where the Durham Bulls play.
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We made it to the beach in excellent time, stopping at Harris Teeter on the way to our hotel to pick up important foodstuffs: Nutella and graham crackers, chips and salsa, sandwich fixings, cream soda in glass bottles, etc.  We unloaded the food and suitcases and headed straight to the beach.photo_2[1]

Just a few minutes after we’d settled in, we were surprised by a furious rainstorm. There wasn’t any hail, but the raindrops themselves were painful. We all ran back to the condo. Brittney and I made dinner while the men enjoyed (what else?) the World Cup from an attractive fishy couch.20140616-112039-40839517.jpg

As with last year, actually cooking the superfood salad (with fresh shrimp) was quite the adventure. We’d had the foresight at the grocery store to stock up on salt and pepper packets from the deli (and mayonnaise and mustard for our next day’s lunch), but the condo was not as well-appointed as the one we stayed in last year. With some cuisinary cleverness, Brittney and I were able to put together a pretty impressive spread.

We ate out on the porch in white wicker rocking chairs looking out at the sound–in a word, idyllic.20140616-112039-40839947.jpg

That evening: more soccer, Scrabble (even though some people hate it), Yahtzee! and lots of laughter.

We spent the next morning at the beach (which is maybe 100 very walkable yards from where we stay) enjoying the gorgeous weather. Per usual, the water was warm and wonderful. Jason and I saw a ton (a pod?) of dolphins.20140616-112040-40840616.jpg

That Jason is my favorite.20140616-112040-40840441.jpg

We couldn’t avoid the rain forever. After lunch it started pouring. Good thing this was a) during the World Cup and b) at just the right time in the afternoon for me to take a very long nap wearing my sunglasses and not leaning on Jason’s sunburned shoulders.

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We went to Daddy Mac’s for dinner, where our server was named Ammon. Should have given him a pass-along card. En route we saw what happens when you don’t have an adequate drainage system for rain.photo_1[1]

(Yes, this was taken from inside the car.)

We also went for a walk along the beach. We sure like the Holbeins. Every time we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart. Jason and I are secretly praying they’ll get jobs in DC after grad school so we can be neighbors again.photo_5[1]

Oh, we also enjoyed the messiest ever Dairy Queen dipped cones and a truly incredible sunset.photo_4[1]

There is something intoxicating about the ocean. Maybe it’s the rhythm of it? I don’t know, but every time we go I’m just transfixed.photo_3[1]

In the evening: soccer (seeing a trend here?), American Ninja Warrior, which is like that Wipe-Out show but with athletic contestants, and Cranium. Jason and I make a good Cranium team.

Oh, and in case you don’t believe soccer has addictive properties (I think this might be my favorite photo from the trip):20140616-112042-40842004.jpg

Until next year, Holbeins! (But we should really get together before then.)

Beach trip 2012

Beach trip 2013

in which jason’s mom comes to visit, part one

We love having visitors and were thus super excited to learn that Mom Frost would be coming to visit us last weekend! Even though Jason’s parents live just six hours away (in Christmas morning traffic), we don’t get up to Connecticut nearly enough.

Mom’s plane got in Friday evening. We picked her up from the airport, then headed to Lebanese Taverna. She was a really good sport to try a new cuisine and I think she liked it. The pita bread and hummus and kibbeh (and let’s be honest, pretty much everything on that menu) are so good.

The next morning we got an early start at the Silver Diner for breakfast. After some phenomenal omelettes, French toast, and bison huevos rancheros, we headed to the metro for a ride into town.

We started at McPherson Square, then headed down to the WWII Memorial, which Mom hadn’t seen before. I tend to be kind of lukewarm about that particular memorial, but we went the day after the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
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There were several wreaths out and lots of veterans visiting from across the country. It was pretty touching.

Jason’s mom served her mission in Belgium. They sent a wreath for D-Day.
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We walked down the reflecting pool and stopped by the Lincoln Memorial. By this time it was getting a little hot, but we marched on.20140609-111146-40306350.jpgAmanda_Mom_Lincoln[1]20140609-111145-40305963.jpg

Jason always makes fun of how much I like clouds, but these are indisputably awesome.20140609-222339-80619086.jpg

Crossing Independence, we headed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, one Jason’s mom hadn’t seen before.20140609-111147-40307074.jpg

Then we walked around the Tidal Basin and over to the FDR. One observation: it seems like we always have guests in the winter time. The FDR and WWII memorials are so much cooler with functioning water features!20140609-111147-40307453.jpg

We walked over to the Jefferson Memorial, which is one of my personal favorites. Jefferson_Boat[1]

I love how it is kind of off on its own and not so crowded. I also love the focus on his writings, which are pretty incredible. 20140609-111148-40308306.jpg

Peeking around the pillars even though Jason didn’t want to!20140609-111147-40307797.jpg

Oh, and the light inside the rotunda is pretty great.Mom_Jason_Jefferson[1]

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We had some water and took some pictures before embarking on the next phase of our day’s adventure: the Newseum!20140609-222337-80617164.jpg

We walked (see a theme here?) across the mall and down Constitution, past lots of food trucks and what appeared to be a staging area for the Smithsonian’s Folk Life festival.

The Newseum is one of the few museums in DC you have to pay for, but we’ve been lucky to end up with free passes every time we want to go. It’s right on Pennsylvania Avenue and the building itself is part of the experience.20140609-111149-40309805.jpg

We watched the 4-D movie about the news (the part about Nellie Bly in the insane asylum always gets me), then headed to the 9/11 exhibit.9_11_Sign[1]

There’s a section of the antennae from the World Trade Center on display, along with the front pages of newspapers from around the world. We also watched a video about reporters attempting to cover the collapse of the towers that day. Pretty compelling stuff.Newseum_9_11[1]

We walked out onto the 6th floor balcony to see what I consider one of the best views in DC.

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We checked out a few other exhibits, including the awesome Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs gallery, before heading off to the metro to go home.20140609-111148-40308919.jpg

We opted to stop en route for some frozen custard at Nielsen’s, a hallmark experience of visiting the Frosts. Plan on it.

Once home, Jason took a shower and we had pizza for supper before heading up to the Washington, D.C. Temple. We made it just in time for the 7:30 session (literally just in time. We were almost shanghaied by a very nice but very old temple worker who wanted to tell us a joke). The session was great and it was wonderful to be in the temple together.

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In spite of our exhaustion, we went home and played a game of Scrabble and ate Klondike bars. Great day.

Total miles walked: At least 6, but probably closer to 7.

cherry blossoms

One day last week I woke up and heard birds and knew spring was finally here. Spring everywhere is great, but it’s especially lovely in the greater DC metropolitan area.
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On Sunday afternoon we metroed downtown to take in the infamous DC cherry blossoms.
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We’ve been three out of the last four years (just like Kentucky in the Final Four…) and I think this was our most pleasant foray. It wasn’t too hot and there was a light breeze. Of course, the Tidal Basin was full-to-bursting of tourists and locals alike, but we were patient and got some great pictures.
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I call this one Pensive Mr. Frost, with Aviator Sunglasses.
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The cherry blossoms (which seemed like a fable to entice tourists the first time we went in 2010, which was definitely post-peak bloom) really are incredible, and the effect of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin is beautiful. The sun started going down as we walked back toward the metro, which was in itself quite lovely.
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We walked hand-in-hand along the mall and I remembered that DC is a much happier city when it’s warm outside. What’s not to love about a lazy Sunday afternoon walking along the Mall?
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Jason was supposed to be out of town on his birthday, so we celebrated two weeks ago with ice cream cake and Dunkin’ Donuts (per usual). Then, in the best birthday-related turn of events ever he returned home on Wednesday, just in time to celebrate again on Saturday. I’m so glad.

Jason is the best.
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I sometimes field questions about marrying young when people do the math and I always think, “Clearly you don’t know how great Jason is.” Who wouldn’t want to marry this stellar man??
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He is thoughtful and kind. He’s smart but never makes anyone feel inferior. He’s the most genuine person I know.
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Jason teases me like my family does (much to their delight). He is fun and funny. He’s clever, witty, and sweet.
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He is a hard worker. He can talk to anyone. He is intellectually curious and always has a stack of books to read next. He’s conscientious and responsible and can grow a rockin’ beard.
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Jason makes me want to be a better person every day. Being married to him is my best blessing.
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Happy birthday!

mio & hannah, day four

We realized on Sunday night that we hadn’t booked a trip to see the temple into the itinerary, so we got up super early on Monday morning to go see it.
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When we got home everyone was starving, so we went to the Silver Diner for breakfast. Sorry, Dad, no one ordered the roasted beet salad. I think Hannah and Mariel really enjoyed their french toast and pancakes instead.

We hopped on the metro and headed to the National Museum of American History. I could spend days in the National Gallery, but American History requires a more strategic approach (or you may drive yourself crazy in the American on the Move exhibit). We hit up the must sees, including Bob Dylan’s jacket…
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Kermit the Frog, the Sunstone, the Fort McHenry flag, the First Lady dresses (best part, in my opinion)…20140121-165744.jpg

and a select portion of The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden until the Kennedy assassination made us sad.

We did also see the giant conestoga wagon, not pictured below. In other news, Jason’s facial hair is here to stay (for now). I like it. He likes it. My coworkers like it. 20140121-165753.jpg

We marched up the mall and past the Lincoln Memorial, over the bridge and up to Arlington National Cemetary. 20140121-165803.jpg

We got there just in time to hike up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the changing of the guard, which was a big hit of Mariel’s last trip. We also saw a wreath-laying ceremony. Afterward we went to the Kennedy grave site. I always prefer the RFK area. We skipped the Robert E. Lee house and went back to the Metro. At this point we were hungry again, so we went to Foggy Bottom and walked up to Farmers Fishers Bakers.

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We ordered and split the Georgetown honey fig pizza, a meatball pizza, a Farmer’s Daughter sandwich, the pickled vegetable potato salad, and of course the pretzels.

In the evening one of the YW from our ward came over to talk to Mio about BYU-I. When she’d gone, we ate cookies and played Mental Floss and painted our nails again in between gales of laughter. Seriously, by the time the game was over my sides hurt from laughing so much.

The next morning the girls and I woke up at 4 AM and left for the airport at 4:30 AM. We stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts on the way (a must for any east coast trip, or so the New Englander in our family would tell you). I dropped them at the airport a little after five o’clock. I was terribly sad to see them leave; I get used to having them around and then there’s a big sister-shaped void in my life again. Thank goodness for technology or I would never survive living 2,000 miles away from my family.

Total miles walked: 5.9