The Real Star of "The Next Food Network Star"

As many of you may know, a local North Ogdenite has reached the national stage on the show "The Next Food Network Star". While you may think that it could be Blake Johnson and his exotic dishes dressed with clippings of house plants, you'd be wrong. Those of you who have eaten at my parents house may think someone different. Perhaps the Food Network is looking for a chef who knows how to make entire meals without a single gram of fat. Could it be my mom? Sorry.

Let me stop stringing you along. Those from the Ben Lomond Stake will recognize Kelsey Nixon as the future star. Green shirt with the elbow sticking out.

The other day I was having breakfast and saw that they were doing a promotion where they were giving out breakfast at Grand Central Station. I thought, "hmm.. I'll go get some free breakfast, as well as say hi." So on my way to school I swung by and did just that.

While there I had my picture taken, and they gave me a card to retrieve my picture online. All I can say is Kelsey better watch out. As you can see by the picture (taken by a professional), I look like I belong on TV.

In other news, check out this link:
The place where the guy landed was in North Powder. This is where I would've gone to school had we not moved to Utah. Population: 489. Maybe the "rancher" who found the balloon was my uncle...

Who Said Marathons Are Hard???

I know I said I'd stop with the long posts, but here is another one. Sorry.

So there has been a lot of talk about people running half marathons and full marathons. Katie running in DC, Megan, Lori & my brother Scott running the one in Ogden, even my brother-in-law Zach doing a triathlon in St. George. While you think all these people over-achieving would serve to motivate me, right? Well, maybe in a way. I would like to tell you all about the marathon-of-sorts that I completed just recently. An act that I believe should be equal to that of all you runners.

The other night we were having a BBQ with some friends (Katie reminds me it was Mother's Day - I don't think she's bitter). It came to our attention that someone amongst us thought they could eat more cereal than anyone else. In fact, I'm pretty sure Kasey Aldrich threw down the gauntlet, stating nobody could out-eat him, especially pansy Noah Shafer. Soon this thing began to snowball, and got out of control. A date was set, our cereals were chosen, and strategies were outlined.

Being a connoisseur of cereal, I knew there were several routes I could take. 1 - Go with the tasty, albeit sugary cereal, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch; 2 - Go with a more fluffy, but moderately tasty cereal like Honeycombs; or 3 - Go with more of a healthy but enjoyable cereal like Honey Bunches of Oats. Being the kind of guy who often enjoys 2 bowls of cereal for breakfast, I realized that ofttimes by the end of my second bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch I am just dreading drinking the sugar-milk at the bottom of my bowl (my Grandma Nilsson never let me off the hook without drinking it - what can I say, it became a habit).

The answer was clear, if I was to put my whole heart and stomach into this competition, I couldn't choose a sugary cereal. Here are my thoughts going through the challenge:

Bowl 1 - Kasey is an idiot. He just dumped half his box of Fruity Pebbles into his ginormous bowl. Nothing worse than soggy cereal.

Bowl 2 - Why didn't we do this earlier? This is kind of fun.

Bowl 3 - People talking all around me. Can't converse, must focus.

Bowl 4 - You've got to be kidding me! Kasey just refilled his bowl with the other half of the box! I should stop now...

Bowl 5 - Noah is pretending to throw up all his Fruity Pebbles. Maybe that's a good strategy to force some of the girls out. Here I go...

Bowl 6 - I really wish my cereal didn't have dried strawberries. I can't eat much more. And how is Kasey already done with his 17 oz box???

Bowl 7 - Noah still fake-vomiting? Christy Rasmussen is now surrounding herself with boxes of cereal so she can't see Noah. I think she's going to spew.

Bowl 8 - Christy and her husband Ian are out! Ahh, they were never even in my league anyway...

Bowl 9 - I need Katie to get me another box of cereal. Must...beat...Kasey...

Bowl 10 - Only 5 more bowls to pass Kasey - He shouldn't have stopped after one box, he totally under-estimates me - maybe next time he will estimate me.

Bowl 11 - I shouldn't have figured out how many more bowls I need to eat, I think I taste something coming up...

Bowl 12 - Slowing down........

Bowl 13 - Never again.......

Bowl 14 - You've got to be kidding me, Shannon has almost finished her box of Cinnamon Toast??? Where did she come from? I can't lose to a girl!

Bowl 15 - There goes Kasey in my rear-view - sucka! No way, Shannon is still going?

Bowl 15 and a half - If worse comes to worst I will sabotage Shannon.

I'm sure that those of you who know me can guess the result of this little competition. Three trips to the bathroom before noon the next day.

Oh yes, you can also probably guess by the length of this blog, and my unearthly physique, that I did in fact win the competition. Although it wasn't until AFTER I won that I realized we never decided on a prize for the winner. At that point, I was the only one who thought there SHOULD be a prize for winning.

As a side-note, I can't look at Honey Bunches of Oats in the same way as I used to.

The Long Anticipated Video

Here you go! Josh has recently started to walk. He gets a little lazy sometimes and wants to just sit down, but he can walk (usually when his dad forces him to). I don't think he's totally realized that walking is faster than crawling though.

He also has learned to blow on things, which is kinda funny. I made him eggs yesterday, and I was trying to cool them down by blowing on them. He thought it was funny, so he picked up some of the egg and blew on it himself. He then held it up for me and waited for me to blow on it. He got the biggest kick out of that!

Josh also has an obsession with putting lids on everything. He must have great perceptual ability, as he can always figure out which way it is supposed to go on. Maybe he'll become a dentist too!?

As for me, I am almost done with my first year of dental school. What a great feeling it is. I can't believe how fast this first year has gone by. Next Friday is the last day for me, and I only have 6 hours of tests on that one day. It's like taking the DAT all over again. Ughhh...

Katie and I have also decided to apply for a scholarship with the Army. If I get it, they will pay for the next 3 years of my schooling, as well as give us a monthly stipend to live off of. We will then owe them 3 years to pay back for the scholarship. It also gives me a great opportunity to specialize, if I decide that's the route I want to take. Looks like it'll be a few more years before we settle down back in the West.

Katie is doing an amazing job raising Josh as well (yes she is watching me type this). As Young Women's president, she is often away at activities, leaving me and Josh to hang out by ourselves. While she's only gone for a few hours at a time, it makes me realize how hard she works here at home. I get absolutely nothing done while she is gone. All Josh and I can do by ourselves is play the Wii, eat, read, and take naps. It's very draining!

One of those days...

Not to vent (but actually, yeah, to vent) do you guys ever get tired of having to learn new lessons in life, or to relearn lessons? I mean, sometimes don't you wish you already knew it all so that you could skip over the embarrassments or the hard days that took you toward further enlightenment and knowledge?
For example (Staten Island readers already know this story) the organ...I've been asked to play the organ a few times in church, and it's gone okay. Not so for this story. I was asked to play for Stake Conference, and I said yes. Ryan and I showed up with 10 mins to spare before the adult meeting on Saturday started. Traffic was bad, and we hadn't given ourselves enough time. Anyway, I play prelude on the top set of keys (they're more quiet), and it sounds fine, but I didn't have time to test the bottem set of keys (the main keys that play loud). When the time comes to play the first hymn, I just hope it sounds okay and begin playing. All of the sudden there's a brass section going off with bells in the background. Embarrassed, I stop playing, switch the settings, and try again--worse. This time I stop and apologize, saying "I've never played on this before!" (sad, just sad!) and try the third time. I know I should say it worked this time, but no, it didn't. It was bad enough that I had to play on the top keys as loud as they would play through out the whole meeting....! At the end the stake president's wife comes to help me out to avoid the same experience for the stake conference meeting in the morning. Luckily, it worked out the next day.
I wish this was the end of the story, but it's not. This last Sunday I was asked to play again for church (you would think they would learn). We're attending in a different building while our church goes under construction, so once again I was facing a new organ. I played through out the meeting feeling like something's off. I noticed everyone was singing funny, and I realized it was because the organ was playing higher than usual. There's a dial off to the side you can turn to lower the notes, but it was at "0", meaning it was at the normal position. Not wanting to make a bigger mess of things, I left it hoping no one noticed. Nope. Out of luck with that wish. The stake president happened to be visiting (I don't know what I did wrong to deserve this), and he being musically inclined, stepped up to the pulpit near the end of the meeting and asked me to go to the organ. I was planning on refusing, but somehow ended up playing middle C while another luckier soul played middle C on the piano. Of course the notes were off, and the Stake President went on to point out that the organ was off the entire meeting....He supposedly had a spiritual point to make, but I don't think it was very good, at least not good enough to make up for calling me out.
As I sat pretending like I wasn't embarrassed, I was trying to figure out why this happened to me. I mean, this happening once is funny, but twice! That's bordering on just plain sad. Then the thought came to me that I didn't prepare for it. I didn't put any effort in making sure things were ready before showing up to play, so why would I expect things to go smoothly? I think that's how a lot of things happen in life. We expect the best outcome, put in a half hearted effort, and then get upset when things don't go our way. These experiences have reminded me that I am responsible for how my life will play out. Of course bumps come along the way, and some things we can't change or predict, but how we react, learn, and plan ultimately decides where we will stand when all is said and done. So, I guess due to my lack of preparing I ended up embarrassed, but due to my newly acquired humility I was able to learn a lesson.

On a side note, our big Josh is officially walking! He's been taking steps between Ryan and I for a while, but now he walks walks, if that makes sense. Yay for baby Josh! Ryan, if you would kindly post the video of his first official walk, I'd appreciate it...

Blogging: What A Rollercoaster...

I have heard that it is really unhealthy if you keep your feelings bottled up inside. I have something that I want to admit, and I'm not ashamed of it anymore. I know that I'm not the only one out there who feels this way. Here goes: My success (I can't speak for Katie) in the blogging world, is determined by the amount of comments that I get on my posts. Please tell me there are others out there who feel the same way....

My realization of this came to a head tonight as we were having dinner with our friends. Christy mentioned that she really enjoys reading our blog, to which I replied (somewhat offended, but not really...) that she never comments on our posts. However, seeing as how she doesn't have a blogspot account, she has been unable to. I then realized that there must be dozens of people in her situation who frequent our blog that are just dying to comment. I have now instituted an amazing application on the right-hand column of our blog for you non-blogspot folk to express yourselves.

Wow, I feel SO much better.

It really has been unhealthy for me. I have been suffering from this for awhile now, and I feel like I'm on the right path. I had been checking our blog every hour during school to see if anyone had said anything. When I go 2 days without comments I almost want to abandon the whole blogging scene. I hope that trend will change...

That being said... Please comment on our blog! Do it in order to maintain Ryan's sanity! As you can see I'm already referring to myself in third person...


Looking at other blogs I've noticed parents blogging about the cute things their kids do, and I thought that was a good idea so we can remember some things we'd otherwise forget. So this is devoted to the one and only Joshua Ryan Allen.

-Josh is very talkative at home, but people always comment on how quiet and observant he is. I don't know if part of that is due to shyness (probably), but he really does love to watch and figure out things that are new to him. If he's interested in something, he'll sit forever with a serious look on his face, just observing.
-Josh has been standing for about 8 months now. Serious standing on his own, probably 4 months. He's not walking yet, though. He's content with holding on to mom and dad.
-Josh LOVES watching cars. Luckily for us, we live in an area that's got cars aplenty. We'll go outside and sit on the stairs and watch cars until the parent, not the baby, gets antsy. Once again he'll get this contemplating look on his face and sit, watching every car go by.
-This leads us to Josh being a city boy. He likes watching action and people (he tends to stare at people on subways and buses, luckily they don't get offended...), he doesn't like grass, and he doesn't like flowers. We're hoping with some intervention he'll turn around, since both Ryan and I are country folk.
-Josh loves to speed read. When he gets up in the morning, he'll wimper until we read a couple books. He's gets so excited and will pick out the books he wants us to read. He turns the pages, so we have to read pretty fast, usually just make up what was written on the page, because he doesn't want to wait for the real story.
-Josh loves to chase and be chased. We'll all scream while Ryan or I hide and Josh finds.
-Josh is a really good eater, but tends to mooch off of anyone eating anything. He knows how to get at things and pull and prod and cry until we give in. He loves popcorn and peas (due to his mother eating those items often...).
-Josh loves his Woody, a beanie baby teddy bear. When he sees it he gets so excited, and hugs it and squeezes it like it's his best friend. He likes to sleep with it as well.
-Josh doesn't like tricks. We thought he did earlier in his life, but that's probably because he couldn't do anything about it. Now if we hold him up by his legs, he'll fold himself in half and cling onto us so he won't have to succumb to any of our mean tricks.

I could keep going on, it's kind of fun, but I'll stop because Josh just woke up, and I should probably go get him. Just to end, I'll say this: we are so happy to have this little guy in our family. We're all learning together, but he helps us be more unselfish and have extra joy and peace in our lives. Oh, what a wonderful world...

How old are we?

Our happy little family courtesy of the ward bulletin

I'm doing two posts today, but I figure it will make up for the fact that I haven't posted for awhile. The other night we had a family from our church ward over for dinner, and the wife asked us what we were going to do to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We both looked at each other like, "Really? It's that time again? Are you sure?" We had completely forgotten that in a couple weeks we'll be celebrating our 3rd anniversary....I mean, have we already lost that fresh excitement, the zing that tells us each day how long it's been since we made the best decision of our lives? By the way, Ryan, we've been married for two years, 11 months, and 15 days, I think...I honestly think if she hadn't said anything, that we would have forgotten about it until the day after. I know that every day should be special (uahh), but I'm big into celebrating, making certain days extra special! Anyway, who knows what we'll do, nothing to monumental I'm sure (thanks to dental school), but it will be nice at least to remember together the day we officially "sealed" the deal.

It's Just A Plant...

You can learn a lot from sports radio. I have found that my life has been greatly enriched by listening to Colin Cowherd. He is hilarious, spectacular, nutritious, witty, random, intelligent, sporadic, incalculable, spacious, just keep adding positive adjectives. Even if you don't think they would apply to a human, they do to him.

Let me share some tidbits that I have learned through listening to his podcasts:

This was on April 24, about 6 minutes into the podcast (in case you want to start listening with me).

Weber High School has been infested by drug dealers. It took an undercover cop infiltrating the school to break the drug ring. Pretty big news coming out of my former high school. Good ol' Weber, Grand ol' Weber...

Here's a link to the story:

Also, for all you pot smoking parents out there that are worried about what you are going to tell your little ones when they start asking about your drug habits, fear no more! There is a book all about teaching your children about your little Mary Jane addiction.

Here are some quotes directly from the website. The book is called It's Just a Plant:

"It's Just a Plant is a book for parents who want to educate their children about the complexities of pot in a thoughtful, fact-oriented manner."
It is important because many drug facts are "blaming pot for everything form teenage pregnancy to terrorism."
"It's Just a Plant encourages parents to explore the topic and their children's questions about it, all the while reminding them that trying "pot" is an experience for responsible adults."
Straight from their section of reviews: Entertainment Weekly calls this book "An outrage". Wow! Something to be proud of.

You can actually read the first part of the book, and I would recommend that you do. Holy cow! Hilariously sad I have to say.

I hope this post has given you all something to think about.