Monday, July 16, 2007

I Am Grateful For...

Sometimes some random things are so great, you want to share them! So here's some "Melinda's picks" or random things I think are just super. :)

On Friday, we went on a family outing out to dinner at Buca Di Beppo's, a restaurant we've gone to several times before and have enjoyed the food and experience each time. Friday, however, takes the cake as one of our top restaurant experiences yet! Here's why:

Last time we went to Buca's, we signed up for their little e-club, which I rarely do because I detest spam, but, a free appetizer? free dessert? What the heck. So, of course we received our free appetizer coupon via email later and, on Friday, spontaneously decided to use it. Now, usually with free stuff, there's unpleasant strings attached. Of course, the appetizer was only free with purchase of a meal (that much is to be expected), but we noticed there were no other specifics, so we thought we'd see just how much of an appetizer we could get free. So we asked if we could use the coupon for their top appetizer, the Buca Trio Platter (a huge $20 plate of fried shrimp, fried mozzarella, and fried calamari), expecting a no-go. However, our super-cute waitress asked and, surely yes!, we could get it! She even arranged it so we could get extra shrimp and cheese in place of the calamari, since we're not fans of calamari. Wow, it was YUMMY stuff! (Especially the special pesto sauce!). For our meal, we ordered their $15 lasagna plate to share(which we both love). Add in the complimentary bread, and the three of us, Dustin, Benjamin, and I (yes, all three!) had a fantastic dinner AND lunch the next day (love the doggie bag!) for just over twenty bucks (we tipped our deserving waitress 20%). Buca di Beppo is officially one of our favorites! Give it a try and you won't regret it. :)

Also, another item of worthy of note, we love this refrigerator child-proof gadget! Benjamin loves to unload the fridge, which we, of course, do not appreciate. This nifty little thing (I bought it at Target, "Parents" brand) inconspicuously keeps the fridge locked to Benjamin, but still is easily accessible to us (a quick press of the button). It's worked wonderfully... less mess, less stress!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tag, I'm it...

Melinda had tagged me to get me to tell eight little-known facts about myself, well....

1. I'm number seven of nine kids--eight boys and one girl (my sister is the oldest and moved out when I was only eight yrs old). This made for an interesting first few years of being married to a, um .... girl (previously unknown territory for me!) Also, as one of the masses, so to speak, in my family, I learned to fend for myself--I can cook, clean, sew, iron, pick up after myself, and cage fight. By the way, I'm kidding about the cage fighting (well, mostly...)

2. As far as fears go, I am like Susan in that I am also deathly afraid of the ocean. Especially, of um, well, Sharks. I have a hard time seeing why anyone is willing to swim in the same water with swift, giant, ancient monsters that not only are able to snatch a grown man away into the depths of unknown oblivion to his utter horror, but have been KNOWN to do so!!!! That's just not a risk I'm willing to take--no thanks. I've had people tell me, then, "hey, but you're taking a risk of death every time you step into a car." Well, if the risk of driving were to have even the SLIGHTEST chance of being dragged miles down into the cold dark ocean, only to be torn to little shreds by a senseless monster, then I'd never touch a steering wheel again! 'Nuff said.
By the way, I was going to post a picture of a shark, but in the process of trying to find a not-so-threatening one I was being scared out of my wits!!

3. For some odd reason, unbeknownst to me, people tend to think of me as a very serious, don't-like-to-have-too-much-fun type of person. I admit, I can be serious--when I think I need to be, but man, if you think I'm up-tight and don't like to have fun, you don't know me at all!!! People who know me best know that I can be one of the silliest guys ever! Case-and-point, I'm a pretty good country swing dancer due to my faithful (every week!) attendance to a youth dance somewhere in the valley as a teenager, and my religious attendance to country swing dances and east-coast swing dances as a young adult. Melinda and I can really rip up the dance floor!!! (and we're dying to do it again sometime!) Here's us having a little fun at a ward Halloween party when we were first married. It's us in about 60 years....

4. I double as a mobile DJ! My last "gig" was actually this last February, on my birthday (of all days!) I scored a cool $275 in 2 1/2 hours--cha ching!!! I DJed a Valentine's dance for the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Institute of Religion. By the way, I sort of "inherited" the DJ equipment from my older brother (who was also a mobile DJ)--lucky me!!! (Thanks, Derrel!)
(Pic: Me in my younger years.... :)

5. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd ever become a doctor...ever. It's not like I was opposed to it or anything, it just never even entered my mind that I ever could become a doctor. My dad is an engineer, and there was not a single doctor in my family in any direction on the family tree (that I know of.) The only reason that it ever entered my train of consciousness that I would or could ever become a doctor is that one of my brothers suddenly decided to go to medical school. Then another one did (both at Midwestern). It was only while I was a Junior at BYU that I started making plans on my final destination in school that I overheard another older brother (a neuropsychologist, PhD) say that he'd wished he'd gone "the medical route" to get to where he was. Since I was, at the time, planning on a PhD in Molecular Biology, to do research on proteins and DNA (so cool!!!--by the way, I am not joking this time!...) this caught my attention. He had good reasons for his regret (particularly, same amount of school--with all the post-doctorates involved now-a-days--but higher pay for doctors), and it got me to consider the medical route. The more I thought about it, the better I felt about it--and the Spirit kept me going in that direction. Since then, I have found out for myself that this is exactly what I would have chosen. It combines the two things I love most--science, and people!

6. Speaking of science, I am a fanatic! I LOVE watching Nova (a science show on PBS) and learning everything I possibly can about our world and universe! I'm not big into TV, but I do make an exception for Nova (and Nature, when I can catch it!) I also spend time reading through articles on science web sites like, when I can. I guess that's why I kick butt at games like Malarky--mostly because I already know the answer to a lot of the questions!
7. I love learning, but I hate reading (lengthy texts, at least.) This is why I prefer watching shows on science rather than reading long books about it, although I don't mind articles, as mentioned above. This drives my wife crazy because she loves to read. I think I have an aversion to reading long texts because you could say the same thing with so many less words. Maybe it's an efficiency thing. This is why I never read the textbook for school classes--I learn solely from class and the notes. By the way, I never got around to reading those novels assigned in high school english, whoops!

8. Maybe my aversion to books has something to do with the fact that I am a very right-brained person. I LOVE to draw and sculpt--although I have only a little training in both. I play the guitar, but I am dying to learn how to play the piano too! I am also dying to learn how to paint--and to get into photography (along with Melinda). I love Photoshop and video-editing on the computer, I just don't have a lot of time for them!!
Finally, (in essay format) I have also always been very good at English and writing--as evidenced by this blog--of course!! :)
(Pic: a clay box I sculpted in High School)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Susan blog-tagged me (Happy Birthday to you today, by the way!), so I will:

Post eight random facts about myself.
Tag eight other bloggers (hopefully those who haven’t been tagged before).
Post these rules.

1. I had really long hair up until my senior year of high school

2. I am enamoured by my kids! Just now I put baby Jonathan in his chair near Benjamin playing with his matchbox cars and car garage and told Benjamin that Jonathan wanted to watch him play and Benjamin got this big bright smile on his face and tried to put one of his cars in Jonathan's hand and said, "here you go... play!" He is so sweet with his little brother! I can't wait until they can really play together.

3. I taught a special-needs seminary class while I was a student at BYU. It was a very special and significant experience in my life.

4. I love daffodils!!

5. I was an active Thespian in high school

6. My family was homeless for a summer (My dad lost his job, my parents stored our stuff and sold our house on faith, and we packed up a tent trailor and traveled coast-to-coast camping so my dad could go to job interviews. My parents were probably a bit stressed, but, as a 9 year old, I thought it was the coolest family trip ever!)

7. I do not like to shop... Dustin, however, enjoys it, so he's the one who nags me to buy new clothes ("Sweethart, you really need to get rid of that shirt..." "Why? It's comfortable" "Sure, but it's got a hole in it..." "It's not noticable... I'll mend it." "Um, no, let's get you some new clothes.")

8. My wedding dress was also my mom's. When my mom first suggested me wearing her dress, I didn't like the idea (I wanted my own), and then I put it on and, wow, it was beautiful (and felt so sentimental). It was the perfect dress for me! (and it saved me the shopping... :) ).

Now it's my turn to tag...







Leah (so it looks like you need to create a blog! hehe!)

Mari (same for you! Make sure to post all those gorgeous wedding pics!!)

Can't wait to learn something new about you! Happy tagging!

True Spirit of Blogging

So, my little family already has a blog ( and we love it. However, it's become more of a place for updating our friends and family (specifically Grammy and Grampa) of the milestones and goings-on of our little family (specifically the grandkids).
Dustin and I thought it'd be fun to have a separate place to post our own personal random thoughts, ramblings, ideas, ponderings, etc. etc... or, in other words, join in on the "true spirit of blogging". So, yippee... here we go. :)