Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wait to be Seated is HOW long ?

This evening my wonderful in-laws took our 6-pack (of kids) so Karen and I could go out to dinner.  It was mostly my mother-in-law watching them and I am so glad she loves those kids enough to take ALL of them at once.  I think she's a little crazy in that regard, but I love her for it.

On a related note (not related to this blog, but related to that last comment) ... my mother (bless her awesome heart) is taking the second half of the 6-pack for an afternoon-into-evening-into-morning sleepover (well, technically it is the first half because it is the three oldest, but last week she took 2 of the other 3 kids for a sleepover) ... so she's pretty darn awesome too!

Anyway, Karen had a gift card and a $5 off coupon for Texas Roadhouse so we headed there for dinner.  I dropped her off before I parked because it looked like quite a crowd outside.  She met me just outside the front door and said we had our name on the list and it was ... wait for it ... only a 45-55 minute wait!

After a few brief seconds we realized that was perfect!  Neither of us was all that hungry yet and it left the perfect amount of time to do our Wal-Mart shopping and not just have to sit around.

Long story short, we blasted through our shopping.  I then dropped Karen off @ the restaurant so she could hold our table and I booked it home to drop off the groceries, etc.  She texted me that our table was ready when I was only about 3 minutes from the restaurant.  She had barely gotten our water and rolls when I pulled into the parking spot.  And get this ... it was THE spot exactly outside the window of our seats in the restaurant.  So when I pulled into the spot I saw these fingers sort of pulling down the blinds and waving(?) at me.  I assumed it was Karen, but for a minute I was afraid it was someone else telling me not to park there.

Hmm ... I guess that wasn't "long story short" now was it?!  Oh well, it was a great way to make good use of our "wait time" for a table.  I honestly think we'll probably ask if the wait time can be a little longer next time ... if they can't seat us right away anyway!  :)


How cool is Instant Netflix on the Wii ?

When we first moved into our new house just over a year ago, we agreed as a family (more just me and Karen since we never really asked the kids their opinion) to go without certain things.  One of those "things" was DirecTV.  We figured it wouldn't be so bad and decided to sign up for Netflix (so we could watch movies and tv shows every few days when the dvds arrived in the mail).

Initially it was not that big of a deal because we had lots to do around the new house.  Then the summer months came and we weren't really home much in the evenings with family swim at the pool and general "out late" stuff that you can do in the summertime.  And for the fall TV lineup we simply pulled up the shows a day or three later and watched them on our upgraded interent connection.

But the best thing we have found is having the Instant Netflix set-up through our Wii.  Thanks to some help from my brother-in-law (thanks Brian!) and father-in-law (thanks Don!) we got it all connected and running wirelessly ... and it has made Karen and I couch recliner potatoes of sorts.  Not really.  We actually spend only a little time (1-2 hours) every few days (2-3 times a week) watching things instantly ... but it is so cool because you can watch tons of different TV shows (not to mention lots of movies).

Lately we have been burning through the show Scrubs, which I have wanted to watch for many years, but never wanted to commit extra time to.  But now ... BAM!  We just pull up the Instant Queue on Netflix and we're almost done with season 4 (and we've only been watching episodes, starting with season 1, for 2-3 weeks).  It is awesome to be able to "catch-up" on shows instead of waiting every week for a new episode.

Next up: That 70's Show

And we can't wait until last season of Psych is available on the Instant Queue.  Hopefully we can catch up before the new season starts and then just catch those episodes on  :)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's Your Favorite Cereal ?

You'll note I did not title this blog "What's your favorite breakfast cereal?"  That's because for me, cereal has NEVER been just a breakfast item.  It is a great meal anytime, including lunch or dinner.  It makes a great snack in between meals (if you pick the right cereal that is).

I love kid's cereals like these:

I love grown-up cereals like these:

But my favorite (since I first tried it) has been this cereal:

So I am curious if anyone out there likes cereal anywhere near as much as me?  Do you have a favorite that you think I should try?  Let me hear ya readers!  :)


Monday, March 28, 2011

Does "Family" have to be related to you ?

All families have "different" relationships and situations that develop out of "the normal" patterns of life.  I always find it fascinating to hear how real life is often more complicated, and far less believable, than any soap opera or dramatic TV show.  Here's a glimpse into my "extended" family and a situation that at least I find a little odd:

Today I found out that a used-to-be-sister-in-law is now expecting (see: pregnant) again with her new husband.  My niece and nephew will be having a new half-brother or half-sister (way too early to tell which yet).  Not that unique yet I know ... but stick with me here.  That child will have no direct relation to my children because it is my wife's brother's ex-wife's child.  Feel free to get a pen and a piece of paper and draw a chart.  I'll wait.

Okay, glad you made it back.  Sorry for making you do homework.

Now, another of my in-laws is still legally married to his first wife, but they have been "separated" for many, many years now.  He has a girlfriend who had a beautiful baby boy last summer (it was not his baby -- the father is actually her legal husband, but they have been "separated" for a while now too).  That child also has no direct relation to my children but we still refer to him as their "cousin."  And I think it is the right thing to do, because of their current relationship (and because he is just adorable and his mom is really sweet and seems to be making my wife's brother very happy!)

So ... am I thinking about this the wrong way?  Should I just accept either child as a nephew or niece?  Or is it okay to base their "relationship to my family" on their current relationship with members of my extended family?

If that is not "unique" enough for you then just wait'll I tell you the story about the brother who married the daughter of the man that I verbally berated during a church basketball game.  Or the one about another brother who married his (get your pen and paper back out) older brother's ex-girlfriend's oldest daughter.  There are just so many stories ... and, apparently, so many "cousins" !


Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Do YOU "Win the Day" ?

A friend and co-worker of mine (shout out to Kit!) has a little challenge he gives himself with his phone time each day.  If he hits certain goals he "wins the day."  I've been thinking about that alot lately, especially in relation to my desire to "win the day" against the not-so-good version of me that still creeps out every once in a while.

Today, I won the day in many different ways:
 - I got up and went to choir (clean-shaven too!) even though I really just wanted to roll over and cuddle with Karen and sleep in late.
 - I made pancakes for lunch for the kids, including cinnamon-sugar pancakes for Brooklyn and Karen ... and I was actually very happy doing this.
 - I thanked several people at church today for things they do that often go unnoticed.
 - I played a game with my son and brother and father ... and I really, truly only cared about teaching Josh Jr the game rather than being concerned about who won (my dad did by a long shot ... but Josh Jr came in second which was great for him!)
 - I set aside my pride and admitted my fault in a situation with a loved one, rather than making them feel bad about anything that might possibly be their fault (for the record, it almost certainly was not their fault in any way, shape, or form!)

I think the message in 2nd Nephi (in the Book of Mormon) conveys it best when it says that "by small and simple things, great things come to pass."  In that sense, "winning the day" can be a small, simple thing that over time can help the "good Josh" totally eliminate the "not-so-good Josh" ... and that would be a great thing!  Hopefully I can "win the month" or "win the year" or "win the lifetime" against that lesser me.

So I am wondering if my awesome readers out there have anything they have "won the day" with recently?  Let me hear ya!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are you EVER going to listen ?

After a long day at work (thanks again Jeremy for the ride to and from!) I came home to my wonderful family.  It is such a joy when I get to see them all.  They make me smile so much.

Now then ... a little background on today's blog.

About two weeks ago I had a very important conversation with my 3-year old daughter Catalina.
     The subject: her baby sister Myra.
     The message: Leave her alone!

Cat @ the Zoo
(she's leaving Myra alone in this pic)

It was evident that this repeated refrain had finally stuck with Cat because she repeated it to me word for word every time I asked about it for the next week!
     Me: Hey Cat ... what's the rule?
     Cat: Yeave her ay-own.
     Me: That's right!

Fast forward to this evening ... Catalina and Savannah had spent last night at their Grandma Julie's house (Thanks again Grandma Julie!  They LOVED it !) ... so I had not seen Catalina (and she hadn't seen me) in over 24 hours.  She was almost as excited to see me this evening as I was to get one of her wrap-around-your-whole-face-and-neck hugs!  I love those!  But my excitement and joy quickly gave way to disappointment and frustration.  Cat was NOT leaving Myra alone!

8 minutes after my awesome Cat hug (Myra hollers)
Me:  Cat!  Leave her alone!
That's once ...

3 minutes later (Myra is fussing because she can't breath when she is being carried by her neck)
Me:  Cat!  You need to leave her alone.  Put her down!
That's twice ...

5 minutes later (Myra is crying because her toy has been taken from her)
Me:  CAT !!!  Get away from her!  Give her back the toy!  Aaaargh !!!
That's three times ...

20 minutes later ... approximately 30 seconds after we finish nighttime prayers (Cat comes over to give me a good-night hug)
Me:  Are you EVER going to listen?
Cat:  Yes (while bowing her head and looking down)
Me:  When ?!
Cat:  Tomorrow.

I love that kid ... how can you not smile at that response after 20 minutes of not listening ?!  Sill me ... I forgot that she wasn't going to listen until ... TOMORROW !!!  :)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Who Wants to get Run Over ?!

That is the question my little buddy Matthew (age 4) asked while playing the Wii tonight at our house.

To put it into context ... he was playing MarioKart against his older sister and my daughter Brooklyn.  And for a 4-year old, he can certainly hold his own in almost any Wii game.

Anyway, I have blogged about him before but I still need to find another picture of him when he does this little winking thing that he does when he wants something.  Like tonight before he was playing on the Wii he came over and asked me "Big Josh* canIplaymyMariogameontheWiipleaseandthankyou?!"  Then he batted his eyes, gave me his adorable little grin and winkd at me ... twice ... once with each eye.

How can you say No to that ?!  That kid cracks me up ... but he hates it when I call him "Little Tony" (that's his dad's name) ... he always says "I'm not Little TONY !!!"  But really, he totally is!

*I am Big Josh because my oldest son, Josh Jr., is "Little Josh" ... but as recent as a year or so ago, Matthew only knew my kids by describing them, like "the skinny one with glasses" (Josh Jr.) or "the one that is not as tall as the other one" (Ben) or "the girl that has the pink shirt on" (Brooklyn) or "that one that is quiet until she is really mad" (Savannah) or my personal favorite "the one like me" (Catalina).


Thursday, March 24, 2011

What are the TWO fundamentals in basketball?

My wife is not a big fan of sports, although she has become much more of one since marrying me.  She likes to play fantasy football and even participates in March Madness.

I am not picking on my wife here but ... even she knows the two fundamental rules in basketball.

Apparently, my beloved BYU Cougars did not remember them in the game against Florida tonight.

So as a reminder to all who EVER have watched, or will watch, have played, or will play, like, love, or even just tolerate basketball ... here are the TWO fundamentals you need to know:

#1.  Guard the three.
#2.  If you foul, make sure your opponent doesn't make the shot.

I could go on and on about these, but it is late and I am tired.  But to sum up ... not guarding the three is a great way to lose a basketball game even if the opponent is a TERRIBLE 3-point shooting team!  And fouling someone in a weak manner is a waste of energy and has the same net effect as leaving the person open outside the arc.  Don't let laziness be the reason you foul someone.

Congrats to BYU for a fun ride this season.  Enjoy the NBA, Jimmer.  And here's to next year ... who knows, maybe we'll even be better.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Did We Get So Behind ?

Tonight Karen added up all the TV Shows we are behind on watching (for no good reason other than the fact that we've been watching Scrubs on Instant Netflix and have been too lazy to head over to the computer and download these episodes) ... anyway ... it looks like this:

3 episodes of The Amazing Race

2 episodes of Bones

2 episodes of Chuck

2 episodes of The Office

1 episode of Castle


0 episodes of Cougar Town

So add it all up and I get this conclusion:

What is wrong with you Cougar Town ?!  Don't you care enough to produce episodes even when Karen and I are taking an unplanned break from watching our favorite shows on ?!  I see how we rate!  The love is gone huh?!  Don't assume I'm going to come crawling back when you get some new episodes.  I might not even watch!  I am sorely disappointed!

Awww ... who am I kidding?!  I love penny can!  :)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is an Enterprising Crocodile ?!

Apparently, according to the "What Animal Am I?" quiz, that is what I am.

So below is what it says about me ... let me know if you agree (I put the parts that seem most likely to describe me in GREEN below) ... or let me know if you think I need to take the test again.  Also, be sure to take the quiz yourself and let me know how it turned out for you.

From the website:
Enterprising means showing initiative, a willingness to undertake new projects, and a strong desire for success and achievement—all qualities that support the role of the entrepreneur. Like the crocodile, enterprising people possess the energy, creativity, and ambition required to see the possibilities in the future that others cannot see.

If you are an enterprising person, you’ll see the following characteristics in yourself:
 - The ability to “think outside the box” when facing difficult problems and developing solutions.
 - A dedication to advancing both yourself and your organization through a clear mission, while fostering a culture that supports and encourages imaginative and creative solutions.
 - The determination to succeed, which also lends itself to another important trait for enterprising individuals: self-confidence.
 - The tendency to spend a lot of time working alone—something that’s paramount to business success. This emphasizes entrepreneurs’ understanding of sacrifice, and how short-term hard work will pay off with long-term rewards.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You Have Jesus' Phone Number?

Catalina showing off her
awesome "pile of rocks."
They are still on our front steps!
 Please do not think this post is sacreligious in any way ... the title is simply the question that my 3 1/2 year old, Catalina, asked me today (at a completely random time no less).

I answered (as best I could through my stifled laughter) that we say our prayers so Jesus can hear us so no, I didn't have His phone number.

She said "Okay" and smiled and then ran off ... to get gum from grandma or something.

Later this evening as we all were saying our individual prayers as a family (we are not perfect in this tradition but usually only miss one or two days every few months) it was my turn to pick and I asked Catalina to say her prayers.  I cannot remember the entire prayer but here were a few choice parts of it in the best phonetic spelling I can do (followed by translation if you don't speak "Cat"):

"Pease bess Mywa dat she can be aybull to walk soon."
(Please bless Myra that she can be able to walk soon.)

"Bess Jah Coona dat he and Bookie will be happy an' nice to each ofver."
(Bless Josh Jr that he and Brooklyn will be happy and nice to each other.)

"An' bess dat we can washa moovy an' dat mommy and daddy haffa wash it wiffus an' dey yike it to."
(And bless that we can watch a movie and that mommy and daddy have to watch it with us and they like it too.)

I love her and I especially love her "phone calls" to Jesus!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Couldn't you just FEEL the spirit in that song ?!

Today our church choir sang a Medley of Hymns about Jesus.  I cannot, at this moment, remember the exact title of the piece, but it included portions from three hymns, but with variation in the harmony parts and of course in the timing of those pieces.

What can I say about the performance except ... WOW!

We have practiced this for many weeks and I have enjoyed singing the piece from the start.  But the spirit has never been as strong while singing it as it was while we actually performed it for the congregation today.

The last few lines of the piece got me so choked up as we sang it that I actually had to just mouth a few of the words because I could not sing for lack of composure.  They are undoubtedly not as powerful without the accompanying music and four-part harmony, but here are the words that meant so much to me today:
"So, little children, let's you and I ... try, try to be like Him.  Try.  Try.  Try.  Tell me the stories of Jesus ... I long to hear."

The piece overall is mostly at medium volume throughout, but at the line above we come in FORTE and crescendo up to "Him" after which, we soften for the "try"s and then extremely softly we sing the last line, which ends on "hear" sung out over four measures.


Kudos to the choir and our amazing director for an inspiring performance!   Even if I was the only one affected by it (and I know I wasn't the only one) then the effort was more than worth it!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Was this the Best Game Ever to attend ?

Awwwwwww yeah!

This afternevening I witnessed the BEAT DOWN given to the Gonzaga Men's Basketball team by my own, beloved COUGARS of BYU !!!

There is so much to write about, but it is late and I haven't spent any time at all today with my beautiful wife ... so I'll be blogging about the experience tomorrow!

But here's a link to the recap story about the game ... it was SO AWESOME to be there and see BYU play as a team and with a defensive intensity that led to 11 total steals and a horrible shooting line (until the end of the game when it didn't matter any more) for the poor opponents.

Ahhhh ... I don't even care that my brackets are all jacked up!  :)


Friday, March 18, 2011

How cool would it be having your own Paparazzi ?

Today at work we had a special visitor.  This guy.

His name is "The Messenger" (but his real name is John Jenkinson).  He is the "new guy" that is starring in Progressive's advertisements in a supporting role to the Flo advertising.

Now I know pretty much everyone has heard of Flo, but probably NO ONE outside of Progressive people has really heard of (or even cares yet for that matter) about this new guy.  But it was still a big event at our office today as he toured the building, took pictures with people, played his guitar, and shared his very witty commentary.  One of my reps always answers the "How are you?" question with the phrase "Mostly Good."  So today when he said that, The Messenger's response (without blinking an eye) was "Oh?  Did you just recover from something bad?"  Too funny! 
I got my picture taken with him and some of my teammates, etc. but will have to add it to another blog later on.

But the thing that was most interesting to me (because I am weird like that) was that he had his own paparazzi following him around taking the pictures and video, etc.  I was captivated in watching these tireless workhorses as they took photo after photo and video clip after video clip.  The one guy was "in charge" in a sort of way, as he directed The Messenger through our cubicles and hallways.  He kept nodding to the videographer and the still-camera guy so they knew when to shoot and when they could take 3 seconds to breath.  It was crazy!  I was jealous of the still-photographer's hat, because it was a really cool hat like Jason Mraz wears and looked a little like an old school member of the "press" might wear.
This is Jason Mraz in a cool hat!
Anyway, I think if or when I make it HUGE, I will not have an entourage, but instead will hire these dudes (and probably the one lady who was handing out photocards of The Messenger) and they can follow me around making my very presence an event for all around me!  :)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

What is the Worst Part about not blogging for a week ?

The answer might surprise you, but for me ... it is the fact that I have missed out on reading other folks' blogs during that time.

Y'see, when I log on to blog each evening, I follow a certain process:
#1. Check the "comments" link to see if anyone has said anything about my prior ramblings.
#2. Check my "Blogs I Follow" for posts from fellow blogs (and read them if I have time, which I usually do because they are fun and a great way to get to know people better).
#3. Check "out" for a little while ... and then think of a blog topic.
And then I blog, post to Facebook, and usually head straight to bed.

So the thing I missed the most this past week (besides my ability to breath through my nose - because I was sick) was the opportunity to "catch up" on fun stories, memories, experiences, etc. from my fellow bloggers.

Hopefully in the next week I'll be able to read all the posts I missed.  If you write one of the blogs I "follow" then be sure to check your own "comments" section over the next week to see what I had to say about your own musings!  :)

PS -- Happy St Patrick's Day and all that!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Did Ya Miss Me ?

I'll summarize my "one-week off from blogging" in this manner (so in order to leave me enough memory of why I took the week off and not write so much that everyone reading it gets bored too quickly ... as if that hasn't already happened right now!) ... here goes ...

Had an all-day off-site for work on Wednesday (went very well).
Basketball that evening.

Woke up sorta sick Thursday.  Watched lots of Scrubs with Karen.

Woke up later and even more sick on Friday.
Watched more Scrubs with Karen.

Felt like I would NEVER wake up Saturday morning.  Missed the 11-year old Scout Day Camp.  Missed the St Patrick's Day parade.  Kids were very disappointed about that.  I think I ate at some point.

Taught my Sunday School class on Sunday
(but missed choir because I was still sick).  :(

Felt a little better Monday.  Took Karen to lunch at Chili's, which was VERY nice.  Watched more Scrubs with Karen.

80% recovered on Tuesday.  Back to work.  A sesquitrillion e-mails awaited and a bajillion meetings.  Then basketball in the evening.

And now we are to today.  99% recovered.  Ready for choir on Sunday.  Played (and lost for the first time all season) basketball tonight.  And got back on the blogging horse.

So ... let me hear ya if ya missed me!  Comment or something.  Holla!  Either way I'll still begin blogging again, but this past week is the reason why this ain't the "365 days of Josh" ... props to those who committed and completed that challenge ... but as for me and my house ... I will probably give myself a break every so often.

Until tomorrow (which will be a blog about any number of actually interesting things) ... good night and God Bless!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who Am I ?

I am a Child of God.  I am a son.  I am a brother.  I am a husband.  I am a father.  I am an uncle.  I am a grandson.  I am a nephew.  I am a cousin.  I am an "in-law."  I am "married, filing jointly".

I am a friend.  I am a confidant.  I am a partner.  I am a supervisor.  I am a "boss".  I am a leader.  I am a contrarian (look it up).  I am a counselor.  I am an enforcer.  I am a company man.  I am an empathetic listener.  I am a creator.  I am a co-worker.  I am a talker.  I am a visionary.  I am an editor.  I am a planner.

I am a fan.  I am a tenor.  I am a scout.  I am a game player.  I am on Facebook.  I am curious.  I am inquisitive.  I am a talker.  I am a baller.  I am hard on my children.  I am in love with my wife.  I am blessed.  I am overworked.  I am quick to say yes.  I am equally quick to shout "No!"  I am genuinely happy (most of the time).  I am easy to please.  I am a student of life.

I am thrifty (some say "cheap").  I am clean.  I am a woodworker.  I am a teacher.  I am a mentor.  I am being mentored.  I am not as fast as I used to be.  I am troubled.  I am angry.  I am sad.  I am excited.  I am a coach.  I am an example.  I am "good people."  I am a risk-taker.  I am smart.  I am confident.  I am serious.  I am simple.  I am easily amused.

I am getting wiser (with age and experience).  I am learning to smile more.  I am disappointed.  I am impressed.  I am a believer.  I am faithful.  I am loving.  I am kind.  I am generous.  I am an expert.  I am a hugger.  I am trustworthy.  I am approachable.  I am lucky.  I am interested in YOU!

I am tired.  I am going to bed.  I am ... zzzzzzzzzz.


Monday, March 7, 2011

If you want my business, why NOT allow it ?!

This afternevening Karen and I were discussing the dreaded "D" word ... Dinner ... and I suggested that we could go out to eat at one of favorite, albeit very infrequently visited, places: Texas Roadhouse.

I thought the idea had merit because Karen has a $20 gift card there and kids eat free on Mondays.  We had even discussed this a few weeks ago and decided that if Josh Jr gets an "adult" meal, then we have three free kids meals to split among the other 4 kids that eat solid foods (Myra's too young for steak and beans ... at least Karen says so anyway and I suppose I should believe her).  :)

As we were confirming our exciting plans to not have to cook this evening, I remembered that  the Roadhouse also does an "Early Dine" special, where you can get certain entrees for only $7.99, as long as you order before 6:00pm.  I think some of you may see where I am headed with this ... if you think that combining these two deals is cheap, then I suggest you have 6 kids and try to go out to eat ... EVER !!!  Good luck spending less than you would for a week of groceries!

Anyway, Karen (very wisely if I may say) decided that we should probably call the restaurant ahead of time to confirm that these deals could actually be done at the same time.  It took a few phone calls (because their numbers on their ads in the local mailers just send you to an automated line ... and I'm thinking that can't be good for business right?!) ... but eventually Karen spoke with a real live person and ... wouldn't you know it ... the two good deals cannot be combined for ONE great deal.

So I made grilled cheese (and pepperoni for those that wanted it) sandwiches ... AND ... chili cheese eggs (which are very popular in this household!) for the rest of the crew.  I had some of both and they were quite tasty ... and well under our budget for the evening!  :)

My primary thought here is "Why not?!"  I am certain that the Roadhouse has enough business without my "party of 8" ... but do they really need the extra $10 I would have saved by only allowing ONE of these decent deals to be applied at a time?!  I'm not too mad, because it means Karen and I will go out to eat with just the two of us, so that will be fun ... but I am disappointed that my creativity cannot be rewarded with a decently good deal on a meal out.  Now I'm hungry for some chili cheese eggs again!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Preaching to the Choir ?

I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't LOVE singing!

Virtually all of my earliest memories as a child involved music, and therefore singing.  My dad and mom used to sing all the time growing up.  I am not entirely sure where my mother's love for music came from, but I know my father's family was always singing.  He played the guitar, and so did his brothers.  My Uncle Dwayne has the deepest voice I've ever heard and I remember hearing my dad and his brothers singing at family reunions, etc.  I am certain that influenced me greatly in my passion behind singing.

My mother introduced me to a very eclectic mix of music.  I still remember not just the popular songs and artists she had on records (like Neil Diamond, Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys) but I also remember the odd, random songs/artists.  Of course at the time, none of them seemed odd because that would have made my mom "odd" and she certainly wasn't (and isn't!)  I remember a song called "Toot, Toot" and if I felt like taking the time right now I would go look up the artist ... but I don't ... what I do remember is that there was a line that went like this: "Don't you mess with my toot toot" and then something about "I'm gonna break your face" which was the artist's threat to anyone that got in his space (or something like that).

Anyway, I am way off track here ... what I wanted to write about was our ward choir and how much I love singing in it!  The Oakwood Ward (as a reminder for my non-Mormon readers, a "ward" is the congregation that a geographic are of people attend and are a part of) has a superb choir!  Our choir director, Amy Amsden, is awesome!  She brings a true Christian spirit to our practices and performances ... but just as importantly, she makes it FUN !!!  I have never enjoyed pompous choir directors who always make you feel stupid if you don't read music or are not classically trained and all that.  Sister Amsden is NOT like that!  We sing challenging pieces, but there are always plenty of laughs and camaraderie amidst a spiritually uplifting experience.  I sing Tenor and I am glad that even my seemingly stoic peers in that section still enjoy a chuckle or two as we practice and prepare our music.

I love to sing with the radio in the car and I have a love for all types of music (except anything that is intentionally putting someone or something down, or if it promotes violence and hatred of others).  But my favorite type of singing will always be "a cappela" (that means "without instruments") and church music.  I believe, the latter is the best way to share our testimony of our Heavenly Father, of His Son Jesus Christ, and of His plan for us to live on this earth, gain experience, and one day (if we live worthily enough) to return to live with Him.  When I sing, especially with a group of my peers that feel the music just as I do, I believe that He hears me and is pleased with my show of faith and gratitude.  I also believe He must have a good sense of humor and that He is not displeased when we enjoy a laugh at the lighter moments during practices and our everyday life.

Thanks for reading this blog and if you ever want to come and hear the Oakwood Choir perform, just let me know and I'll be sure to invite you along to one of our performances.  Not to be prideful, but it really does sound amazing and you will feel His love for you as you listen to our collective testimony.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whatever happened to this guy ?

It's time to highlight another one of my favorite stand-up comedians ...

Henry Cho !

He's clean (even the kids can watch!)

He's hilarious (even watching the same bit over and over is LOL funny!)

He's unique (an Asian with a deep southern drawl?!  sweet!)

He's difficult to find on YouTube, etc.  :(

Here's a clip from a few years ago on the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson (who is another very funny guy!)


Friday, March 4, 2011

How do you forget to flush ?!

Another blog begun with an apology to you loyal readers ... I am SORRY but this post is not about a very mature topic.  It is sort of gross and in so many ways should not even be considered worthy of writing about ... but I HAVE TO !!!

I have NO IDEA where it comes from, but some (or all ... it is really hard to know for sure) of my children just don't flush the toilet when they are done.
I find this ridiculous!
I think it is the third worst thing you can do (or not do, I suppose) involving a trip to the bathroom.  Sparing the joke about #1 and #2 (ha ha ... if you don't get this then you'll have to ask me to explain why that last part was very funny!) ... second worst is not wiping (Don't laugh!  My three-year-old has not gotten this down yet!) ... and the worst is not washing your hands afterward!

I simply cannot understand why some (or all) of my children do not flush when they're done.

We are a cost-saving household and I am notorious for turning out lights when no one is currently in a room.  I shout at the kids for leaving the water running while they brush their teeth or comb their hair.  I nag them about not taking so long in the shower (especially my teenage 7-year-old daughter).  The adage about closing the door to keep in/out the heat/cold (altogether now ... "were you raised in a barn?!") is repeated throughout the year.  Computer monitors are turned off when not in use.  Laundry is done all on the same day so the dryer never "cools down" and then has to heat back up.

Despite all of this ... I will NEVER say (and have never said) to ANYONE living in or visiting our house ...
"Hey!  Why'd you flush after just one use of the toilet?!  What a waste!  Do you think water grows on trees?  There are starving kids in Africa who don't flush for weeks!  How can you be so insensitive to the needs of our planet?!"

Maybe they will grow out of it as they get older ... but ... the three kids living downstairs have their own "water closet" and it is almost always a smelly, disgusting area because one of them didn't flush!




Thursday, March 3, 2011

Which is worse ?

Check out these pics of me with the ...

too-long-for-comfort beard

and the

for-puberty-to-hit clean-shaven look

and then VOTE !!!

Which looks worse on me?  Personally, I'm not sure I like either "look" but since my wife is too kind to tell me how I should look (or maybe she really just doesn't care all that much), I'd love your "random reader" opinions.  I think I look alot like my dad in the second picture!

Have fun and don't be too mean, please!  :)


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why'd Ya Shave ?

This morning I shaved off my beard, which had not been trimmed for 2 months.  And invariably I am prepared to answer the question "Why did you shave it?" any number of times over the next few days.

I had told many people that I was growing it out as a "until Oakwood basketball team loses a game this season" sort of thing, but that was really just an excuse for not shaving.  Ultimately, I just planned to grow it for two months ... which ended today.

I'm going to try to upload some pics (maybe tomorrow) of the before and after, but I didn't really have Karen take any close-ups because I hadn't really intended to blog about it.  Today has kind of ended on several down notes so I went with something simple, easy, and most of all ridiculously boring to anyone who reads it.  My apologies.  This is 3 1/2 minutes you'll never get back.  You can bill me for it.  :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Is it really over already ?

Yep.  Tonight is our last night in Estes Park, CO.  It has been a glorious week-start with my beautiful bride of almost 13 years.  I love you so much Karen Joy!  I can't wait to come back here with you again for a whole week (as if that would be possible ... but wouldn't it be so awesome!)  I also think it will work as a great location for those future "events" we have been talking about for some of our extended family members.

One short funny story ... we drove through Rock Mountain Nat'l Park today and Karen was sad because we only saw a wolf way off in the distance and no other wildlife in several hours of driving and hiking, etc.  So this afternevening we drove back into the park and "BEHOLD!" there were dozens of Elk off the side of the road just a few minutes into the park.  We saw many more on the way into town for dinner.  Karen got several pictures, but I noticed that the Elk that came close to the car seemed to elicit a humorous reaction (for me anyway) out of my wife.  She was nervous!

Fast forward to leaving the restaurant after dinner ... we barely walked out onto the street and there were three raccoons on the sidewalk.  Two of them quickly scurried away, but the third just sort of ambled away from us down the street.  Karen was rying to take a picture, but it was cute how scared she seemed of this little animal.  I tried to coax it closer so she could get a better picture, but to no avail.  UNTIL it got to the end of that street and realized it did not want to be going that direction.  It turned around and started jogging toward us and Karen shouted "Oh no!  It's coming to attack us!"  (She will dispute this, but I know what I heard because I just laughed out loud!)  It quickly crossed the street and we narrowly missed being killed by a docile scavenger the size of a small house cat.  I didn't want to laugh, but Karen looked so cute!

I love you Pretty Lady!  Thanks again for a great 12+ years and super fun weekstart!