Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Break

For Christmas this year Natali and I traveled down to St. George to spen Christmas with the Wyson Family. We were supposed to go to the Wyson's Cabin in Duck Creek (about 40 minutes outside of Cedar City) but there was a huge storm that dumped 7 feet of heavy snow in a day or so and the roads were closed for over a week. We ended up staying in St. George which meant no white Christmas for us this year.

Christmas was great. We spent the days before Christmas just relaxing and playing a few games. We also had a gingerbread house decorating contest. There were 4 gingerbread houses that were prebuilt so we just had to decorate them. Natali was really stresed out because as soon as she found out about this contest she kept bragging how she was gonna win because she had an "engineer" on her team. I put engineer in quotations because I am no more an engineer than she is a lawyer right now. I will take away those quotations in a few years. Anyway, lets just say I felt a little bit of pressure from being so talked up to everyone in her family.

Dana and Jason had the whole idea for doing the competition. They built the perfect gingerbread house. If you looked up gingerbread house in an encyclepedia, this is the picture you would probably see. It was perfect from the river that sparkled to the marshmellow picket fence to the wreath over the door.

Next we have Randy and Shane's gignerbread house. If oyu have ever seen the movie "Up" (Or "Snipe" for Bret and Becki) you might recognize it. The marshmellows above it are the balloons pulling it off of the ground. You will also see the g-pa, the little kid and the dog if you look hard enough. It was a cool idea. Shan also put some lights inside of it so it would light up.

Team three included the Wyson's unmariied children (Jaimee that just got back from Marine Combat Training, Jared, Tracie, and Jayden), Launa, and they got help from one of Jaimee's Marine friends. Having two Marines on the team explains the theme of the house: Fort Wiseguy. The two guys out front are Mr. Thimble and Mr. Wiseguy, 2 characters that Jaimee made up and does made up skits about these two mean old men. It is hilarious. Anyway, their Fort was probably the most protected Gingerbread house ever.

Natali kept saying to me all week that she wanted to do a tree house and I had to figure something out. I didn't know how I was going to do it but we just started working and this is how it turned out.

That is Tarzan on the left. We almost got disqualified for nudity but the leaf covers enough up ;). On the right int he window is a lion and there are 2 monkeys hanging from a vine in the middle. It turned out pretty cool, the house sat on top of one tree trunk and it was a lot sturdier than I thought it would be. We had a good time.

Here are some other highlights of our trip. We got to see Randy, Shane and their 4 cute little kids. here is a picture of Riley (She loves doing funny poses) from the last time we saw her (for some reason we didn't take any pictures of them this trip).

For Christmas we watched "The Muppet's Christmas Carol" to keep with the Wyson Family tradition. It is a great show. There was a lot of singing and I just sat in awe most of the time, trying not to mess up the very talented group of singers as they sang Christmas songs. It was great to sit around and hear the Christmas story again, and be reminded that after the shepherds were told the news of Christ's birth, they went in haste to find him, just as we must.

Christmas morning is always fun and I got spoiled more than I should have. My favorite present was a DVD that Natali gave to Santa to put in my stocking ;) It was a DVD of the first year of our marriage. Natali would spend hours on her computer and every time I would ask here what she was doing she just said she was working on a project. She was very secretive about it. What she did was she put all of our pictures and organized them into groups such as "Dating", "Wedding", "Barcelona", and other topics like that and put all of our pictures into a slideshow with music. It is amazing. Each topic has about 5 minutes of music and pictures of us and our adventures. Thanks Natali! I love it!

Well this is gettig a little bit long but we have had a great Christmas break. School will start soon and so will a new year. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A little post about my crazy life!

Well I just realized the other day that I needed to write about a few things going on in my life right now. Life has been pretty crazy lately. I thought this last week was going to kill me: I had 4 tests, I had a 15 page lab report due, I started my second job as a basketball referee, we started on our balsa wood tower design, and I was able to do something else to keep me sain...

My freshmen year at good ole DT I put together an ultimate frisbee team with a bunch of guys from my ward. 5 years later we are still playing ultimate frisbee. This year we got put in the best division for the trournament and took third place out of 120+ teams! Pretty cool. The team captain this year even started a website and rented a video camera for a few games and made this video:

If anyone was wondering, it was me who made the second pass the last catch! Ya, pretty good huh? Well the season was great and if you want to see more videos or you just get really bored check out our team's blog here! You can watch some of our games on youtube also. Mom and Dad were able to catch one of our games when they came up and I was glad they were able to watch.

Our dream season ended this year last saturday as we fell to the Shaugiman. It was okay because I was able to come home to an amazing lunch that Natali had made from some halibut we got from Aunt Nan and Uncle Denney. MMMMMM. It was good. She made it in the oven with parmesan and green onions and other goodness on it. If you want the recipe, its a good one. Natali is pretty amazing. She studies 11+ hours a day and still has time to do hip-hop and cook me some good meals. She is really stressed right now about finals in a few weeks so for everyone going home for Thanksgiving, you might not see too much of Natali because she will be studying a lot during the "break" to get ready for finals.

Anyway, I better get back to grading some papers and doing some homework!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why I love the holiday season

I just love the holiday season. And I am SO excited for it this year. Reed won't let me set up our Christmas tree yet but I am still rebelling and listening to Christmas music and lighting Christmas candles :-D.
Few things I love about the Holidays:
1. Great food!
2. Music everywhere (and who doesn't love Christmas music?!)
3. Beautiful colored lights
4. Christmas scents
5. Wearing Turtle necks
6. Christmas shopping
7. Family time
8. Romance (seriously nothing is more romantic than listening to Christmas music, drinking hot chocolate and looking at Christmas lights)
9. Christmas stories!
10. My new most favorite part of the holiday seasons is how hott my husband looks in sweaters.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Break from Studying

Every couple hours of studying I start to get really fidgety and have to do something else for a little while so I decided to write a quick blog. This week is placement break which means the 2nd and 3rd year students have a chance to travel for interviews and such and first year students have a chance to catch up on mountains of studying and work on our Memo 3's. Memo 3 is the only graded assignment in the first year writing class. That means, no matter how good or bad I did on the first 2 memo's, I could still fail the class if Memo 3 is not wonderful. So I have spent approximately 17 hours over the break doing research. And the rest of the time I have been preparing outlines for finals (ya they are in 2 months but when the final exams are the only things on your grades, you spend the whole semester preparing for them). Anyways...a lot of people have asked me about law school so here is a quick summary of life as a first year law student at BYU.
  1. BYU is one of the top 10 most competitive law schools in the nation once you get in. So even if you are studying for 10 hours per day, 5 days a week, you can still rank in the bottom half of the class since others will certainly be putting in 12 hours per day, 6 days a week.
  2. Law professors are all about the Socratic method so they will call on you to analyze a case you read (one you probably read a week ago) and then will give you hypothetical after hypothetical until they can stump you in front of the class...and trust me, they will stump you haha. But it actually is pretty fun once you get over the fear of looking like an idiot.
  3. The reading for law classes is really interesting. The case books use the craziest cases they can find to illustrate the different aspects of the law. Torts is by far the most interesting though (law suits)'s unbelievable the kinds of things people sue over. One of our first cases was about a 60 year old lady who was sueing a 5 year old boy. The boy definitely did something lawsuit worthy but it's still crazy to read about them calling the 5 year old on the stand to defend himself against an $11,000 lawsuit haha.
  4. I used to love classes that were graded on a curve because I knew if I worked hard enough, I would be at the top of the curve but in law school...everyone has always been at the top of the curve. So I prepare myself everyday to be at the bottom but I think nothing can really prepare any of us for the emotional breakdown that is sure to follow final grades :-S.
  5. Law is such a different subject to learn. Because the law changes every single day. With every new case, new precedent is set. It's really fascinating to me that I could write a paper about what the law is on any particular subject and by the time I graduate law school, that paper could be entirely useless because the law has changed so much. Usually in school you learn how to apply rules that will typically never change. But in law school, you learn how to manipulate any kind of rule to work in your client's favor, which could even mean changing the rule entirely. It's interesting that one attorney could look at the rules set out in one case and construe them to favor his client while the attorney opposite him could use the SAME case and construe the rules in favor of her client.
  6. One thing I have learned in law school: People should just stop trying to argue against Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia is a conservative judge in the Supreme Court who was appointed by Reagan. And let's just say, I feel bad for the other Justice's when they argue against him in their opinions because he destroys their arguments every time. He is sometimes criticised for writing such scathing dissents against the majority but it certainly makes his opinions interesting to read. Seriously...this guy is so cool.
  7. One unfortunate thing about law school is it has made me hate mundane activities such as showering or cleaning the house, because I feel guilty every time I spend time on stuff like that knowing someone else is probably studying at that moment.
Okay...I really should get back to studying.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When in Rome

Well it's long overdue but here is a post about our romantic moments spent in Rome. I just have to say, no pictures can ever do this place justice. If you can do one big vacation in your life, I highly recommend at least a couple days in Paris and a couple days in Rome. Our first day was spent at the Vatican...which actually I would not recommend doing first because once you see that, the other sites, such as the Colosseum, just aren't as impressive as they could be.

This first picture is one of my favorite statues (it's at the Vatican). It's of a priest who warned the Trojans not to accept the Trojan horse. When he went to thrust his spear in the horse's side, the gods sent serpants to kill him and his two sons. The strain you can see in his muscles and the fear in his face as he tries to get away make this statue feel so real.

We couldn't use a flash in the Vatican so whenever we are in the pictures, it's a little dark so that we don't overexpose the beautiful backgrounds but here is a glimpse of a couple of rooms inside of the Vatican.

Throughout various rooms we saw this really neat painting technique. We would have never realized it without our guide but although it's painted to look like it's 3d, it's really entirely paint.

I'm not going to post too many photos of paintings but I just wanted to post this, the painting is way too big for one picture but this section shows something cool that we learned. You see how most people are looking at something within the picture but there are a couple looking directly out of the painting at us? Artists did that when they painted someone they knew into the painting. Usually they did it to show respect to other painters they admired and sometimes it was a woman they loved. There are a couple men in paintings that are speculated to actually have been painted to represent a woman the painter loved but they painted them as a man to keep the love secret. One of the funniest stories though is of a painting in the Sistine chapel (I'm pretty sure that's where it was but we didn't take pics in there) where Michaelangelo painted a bunch of the people he didn't like being dragged down to hell.
The hallways are beautiful to look down. In many of their hallways they use an interesting technique (seen in second photo) of putting the pillars closer and closer together as the hallway continues down so that it looks longer than it really is. (I guess it only works if you walk down it the right way though). You have probably noticed that we have ear phones in (in one ear so we can still talk to each other), that's because we are listening to our guide talk as she walks in front of us, we tuned into a certain radio channel to hear her so she didn't have to yell in the Vatican.

Now for the most beautiful site in Rome, St. Peter's Basilica. Honestly, I just gasped when we walked inside of this place. Pictures will never even come close but try to imagine how ginormous this building is. Imagine a room with ceilings so high you could easily put the Salt Lake Temple inside. The little black thing you see at the back of the room is actually 5 stories high. And we were there at the perfect time of day when two beautiful rays of sun were shining through the windows in the dome. It was breathtaking.

We snapped a few photos out in the courtyard in Vatican city before heading out...You can tell Reed was pretty exhausted by this time.

Next up: Fontaine de Trevi and the Roman Pantheon!! The legend is, if you throw a coin into the fountain over your shoulder, someday you will return to Rome. So I kissed it first to bring EXTRA luck :-). We heard the Red Cross makes a lot of money by coming and collecting those coins from the fountain every Sunday night haha. By the way, Reed planned this WHOLE trip by himself. I was so busy with my internship and homework I didn't even double check his planning. He did a great job...He even downloaded little explanations of all the sites onto his i-pod (that's what he is listening to in the Pantheon photo).

The COLOSSEUM...(Imagine this section was introduced over a loud speaker or something dramatic like that) I can't choose which photos to use of our visit to the Colosseum because we had perfect weather for getting beautiful colors (which will not be as beautiful probably when I load them on blogger). First, here are a couple outside views of the Colosseum. This first picture is of Reed doing his...gladiator pose?

These next couple photos are of the inside of the Colosseum. There used to be a floor there of course but it's no longer there so you can see below the floor where the animals and (unfortunately) people were kept and/or prepared.

And Voila the view of the Roman Forum from the Colosseum

One of my other favorite things we saw was the Galleria Borghese...but we didn't get to take our camera inside :*(. I found my all time favorite sculpture in this Galleria by an artist named Bernini. The really cool thing about his statues is you never know the whole story until you have walked around the entire statue because it looks different from every angle. My favorite statue is called Apollo and Daphne. It's of Apollo catching the wood nymph Daphne as she is turning into a tree. From one point of view it looks like Apollo has his arm around a tree and then as you walk around you realize it's a woman. (Here is a photo I found online of the woman angle). It was beautiful.
Bus tour! I always think tourists look so silly in those topless buses snapping pictures as they go along but I just felt like there was no other way we were going to see everything so we gave in. And I really loved it. So ya...we were crazy tourists for awhile but it was well worth the humiliation.

Wow...this blog is taking forever. Okay here is a quick photo summation of a bunch of basilicas we visited...they were all incredible. It's worth it to go inside anything that says basilica because a lot of times the outsides are really ugly but the insides are always stunning.

Every time we saw Asian tourists, they were always doing peace signs in their photos haha so we decided we would spice up our poses with a couple of those as well. In concerns to Reed's pose in this Basilica, I'm not really sure what the explanation is.

We loved the night life in Rome. There were comedians, dancers, painters and others performing all over the city to try and earn a little cash. Below are a bunch of photos we took during our two night walks around Rome. One of the following photos is of Reed drinking out of one of many Roman fountains throughout the city. The water is perfectly clean if you drink it right out of the fountains so that's really handy in a city where it gets so hot in the summer time. And a lot of the water is still coming from the aquaducts built by the ancient Romans! Another of our favorite activities in Rome was eating ice cream. We ate a couple cups of ice cream each day. The ice cream in Italy really is just as good as everyone claims. We found our favorite ice cream is this little side shop in Trastaveri. It was delicious! So much better than I ever thought ice cream could taste! The other photos are of various sites we saw walking around at night.

Wow that was a long post. Moral of the story is: We love Rome.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Reed should always do the blogging

Because I am simply TOO attached to the photos to make decisions about which ones go and which ones stay. It'd be easier to pick a favorite sibling (Jayden). Okay just kidding. Anyways...We have some catching up to do before going to the Romantic city of Rome this weekend so I am going to do a quick (quick for a french person at least) round-up of our most recent adventures.

4th of July
In honor of our beloved USA, we had a barbecue! Oh and don't you worry America, we ate really juicy hamburgers for your birthday party, not just these wimpy vegetables in the picture.

And here is a picture of a thumb. Don't know how we stumbled upon this or what the heck it means but how many people have pictures of the Parisian thumb? Ya, not many.

14th of July
To be fair to the French (the French are all about fairness), we also celebrated the French, independence/revolution/prison break/they don't actually know what they are celebrating, National Holiday. We had a great time going with some of our French friends from Evreux to see the Fireworks in Paris.

Julien, Allen, Martin and Reed

Cathedrale de Chartres
On our way to La Vallee de Loire to see all the Chateaux last weekend, we decided to stop and see this beautiful Cathedral we had heard about. It did not disappoint (though it was unfortunately too dark to really see anything inside). Reed made me run out there so he could sneak a picture with the priests in it.
We are not sure why, but statues at Cathedrals are always standing on something (humans, animals etc.) and I tried looking it up but couldn't find any information.
Cute husband by a cute french apartment complex
View from the Cathedral
Not sure what this means either but they have the same pathway carved on the inside of the church and people were walking on it so it must have some religious significance.
Bahaha I just love Reed's poses

Château de Chambord
This Chateau was definitely the most impressive. It is HUGE.

I love this shot of Reed. My husband is hott.
I felt right at home at the castle. Reed says I probably was supposed to be a queen back then but I protested against it when I found out I wouldn't have running water and air conditioning. Sounds about right ;-).

Château de Chenonceau
This is supposedly the most popular chateau for tourists so we felt really cheated when we saw they were doing construction on it! But the inside was still cool.
We found out that the beds were usually shorter back then because people slept sitting up!! Apparently they thought the lying down position was reserved for the dead. Crazy.

Yes, Reed is using his tour guide book as a prop to pretend to be a butcher :-).
Bed chamber of the 5 queens

Reed was really excited to do the "Labyrinth" in the gardens but it was too easy cause he could see over the hedge haha. So he decided to pretend to get lost anyways.

Château de Villandry
We didn't go into this castle because we heard it wasn't worth the time but the gardens were absolutely breathtaking. There were many gardens including an herb garden, vegetable garden, sun garden, water garden, flower garden and ornament garden.

Château de Cheverny
This was the smallest chateau we visited but the grounds were huge. The chateau itself was very quaint and even recently lived in so it was very interesting to see the inside. The grounds are also home to around 100 hunting dogs! Here they are all waiting for feeding time. It was REALLY neat to see when they opened the gates to feed the dogs, they were jumping and running all over each other.

This next picture was probably my favorite and most interesting discoveries during the whole trip. I have always been baffled when I look at paintings of women through the middle ages/renaissance etc, because they all look the same! And it's not really a look I had ever seen in women today so I thought painters just didn't paint women very well back then (ok, let's admit it, the women in these paintings are not very attractive). Then I saw this photo on the wall of the family who just moved out. They inherited this home through a long line of royal descendants of those who built the castles. And look at these young royal girls!! They look just like those old paintings (a little more attractive of course)! But really, the painters got it right! Same face shape, same eyes, same foreheads. Seriously...It all makes sense now. The woman all look alike in the old portraits because only royals could afford to be painted and the royals all looked alike cause they married each other. Okay...maybe no one else finds this as enlightening as me but I love it. All my life I have wondered why these famous painters didn't know how to paint women.

Château de Versailles
The famous Chateau de Versailles. We went here to see their nighttime firework and water show, it was great walking around the lit up gardens with all their little fountains and statues. Really a beautiful area.

They had something blowing bubbles all over the place when we first arrived, it was neat.